Metro Vancouver home sales plummet to 18-year low

Jan 4 2019, 4:54 am

Changing conditions in the local real estate market have pushed the combined number of home sales across Metro Vancouver to a new record 18-year low.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the sale of all residential property types reached 24,619 units in 2018, representing a 31.6% decrease from the 35,993 units sold in 2017 and a 38.4% decrease from the 39,943 units sold in 2016.

Furthermore, the total number of sales in 2018 was 25% lower than the region’s 10-year sales average.

“This past year has been a transition period for the Metro Vancouver housing market away from the sellers’ market conditions we experienced in previous years,” said Phil Moore, president of REBGV, in a statement. “High home prices, rising interest rates and new mortgage requirements and taxes all contributed to the market conditions we saw in 2018.”

The number of home listings in Metro Vancouver also fell by 1.9% compared to the previous year — from 54,655 listings in 2017 to 53,614 listings in 2018 — and 6.9% decrease compared to the 57,596 listings in 2016.

Additionally, the benchmark price for all home types in the region was $1.032 million, which is 2.7% lower compared to the previous year. Benchmark prices fell significantly by 7.8% for single-family detached homes throughout 2018, but condominiums saw an uptick of 0.6% during the same period, with most of the gains neutralized by a decline of 6.4% since June 2018.

Townhouse benchmark prices increased by 1.3%, with annual gains also hurt by a 5.3% decrease over the last six months.

“As the total supply of homes for sale began to accumulate in the spring, we began to see downward pressure on prices across all home types throughout the latter half of the year,” continued Moore.

As for the month of December 2018, the number of sales recorded fell by 46.8% from the 2,016 sales experienced in December 2017, and a 33.3% decrease from November 2017 when 1,608 homes were sold.

Single-family detached home sales for the month reached just 348 units, representing a 43.6% decrease from the 617 detached sales of the same period in 2017.

Condominium and townhouse sales reached 535 units and 189 units, respectively, last month — a 34% and 49.1% decrease compared to the 1,028 sales and 371 sales in December 2017.

All of this could just be the beginning of a years-long moderation trend in Metro Vancouver’s residential real estate market.

“This shift in conditions marks the end of the ‘two-speed’ market conditions that had prevailed in the region since mid-2016, whereby lower-priced properties experienced higher demand and price growth compared with higher-priced properties,” reads a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation November 2018 report on the local housing market.

“As 2018 has progressed, demand and home prices have now softened across all market segments and local geographies. Slowing population and employment growth and rising mortgage rates have impacted demand for some properties in the Vancouver CMA.”

Vancouver CHMC

Vancouver housing market forecast 2019-20. (CMHC)

Vancouver CHMC

Vancouver housing market forecast 2019-20. Click on the image for an enlarged version. (CMHC)

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