The housing market in the Metro Vancouver region has been in a good, balanced shape in recent months. Sales have been weaker, however, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, as the number of transactions has been below the ten-year average the whole summer. On the contrary, listings activity has been quite high, with an almost 25 per cent increase year-over-year in August 2011. This resulted in a market with a wider supply and better conditions for buyers. It’s important to note that the market conditions are different in each of the Metro Vancouver municipalities, so everyone thinking of buying or selling should always exert due diligence. To help buyers and sellers in the beautiful waterfront community of West Vancouver, we’ve prepared a short analysis of the West Vancouver real estate market.
The waterfront community of West Vancouver is one of the most desirable Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods. The district municipality is located at the corner of English Bay and Howe Sound, just West of North Vancouver. The beautiful area with beaches, mountains, and many recreational facilities has about 44,000 inhabitants and was one of the areas where the 2010 Winter Olympics took place.
West Vancouver Housing Market
The district’s housing market has been very lively lately, with a very active spring and summer season. There were about 150 new listings of detached houses on the MLS in August 2011, and about 80 detached homes were sold in the same period. There are few attached houses in the neighbourhood (only six listed and two sold in August 2011), so there are no viable statistics for this housing type. Condo apartments make up for the majority of West Vancouver’s real estate market. There were about 600 new listings added to the West Vancouver MLS in August 2011. The total number of active condo listings was about 1900 in July 2011, of which approximately 300 apartments were sold during August 2011.
The average price of a detached home in the charming West Vancouver community was $1,760,710, which is about 2.8 times higher than the Greater Vancouver average of $625,578. Detached house prices have been rising considerably in recent years. The price rose by 26.7 per cent in a year-over-year comparison. Apartment prices have seen a similar hike, jumping by 21.2 per cent in a year-over-year comparison. The average price of a typical apartment in this municipality is $739,225.
West Vancouver Housing Price Index
When we take a look at the three-year trend-line for the Housing Price Index (HPI) for West Vancouver, which is measured by percentage points (set to 100 in 2001), we can see a rather chaotic seesaw pattern, roughly clutching to the residential average trend-line. Detached houses slumped in fall 2008 to about 170 HPI points, and oscillated in that region until the summer of 2009, when they started to rise with minor fluctuations and levelled off in February 2010. The index for detached houses rocketed this year, rising from about 210 points to a record-high number exceeding 260 points in June 2011. The index has moderated somewhat since, ending at 259.4 points.
The HPI trend-line for apartments in West Vancouver had a similar trend overall, but with many more intense fluctuations. After falling with the rest of the market at the end of 2008, the HPI oscillated violently around 200 HPI points until it started rising from the 200 points in December 2009 to a spike of 260 points in April 2010. The prices recovered quickly and fell to roughly 220 points, at which point they saw some minor ups and downs until they fell to about 210 points in December 2010. The year 2011 started with a hike to about 250 HPI points in February 2011 and rebounded and fell by 20 points. The index for apartment housing rose from that level of 230 HPI points to about 240 points in April, then levelled off for two months and started its last hike so far, reaching the current level of 265.2, exceeding the Greater Vancouver residential average by 1 HPI point.