The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated said Mark Twain. We can say the same of the Vancouver real estate market. Buyers are actively looking and making offers to purchase. Sellers are for the most part being realistic about their asking prices so that they receive the offers to purchase. Affordability is the stumbling block in the mix.
After a bit of a dip last year, the housing market in Greater Vancouver last month has bounced back to its 10 year average. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports 2,530 residential properties sold on the MLS® in February. This is a pretty big leap from the 1,760 sales in January 2014, and is a 40.8% jump up from February of last year. This might seem like it represents a buying frenzy, but actually these figures put us pretty exactly on track with the 10 year average for February of 2,547.
While sales have gone up, new listings have gone down 2.8% since February 2013, and 12.1% since January 2014. Again though, this puts us less than 1% out from the 10 year average for new listings.
As Vancouver was again named by the Economist as the Most Livable City in North America it is a magnet for in country and offshore immigration and second home purchasers. This influx of the well to do keeps the real estate market moving and highly priced.
The MLS® Home Price Index benchmark price for homes in Metro Vancouver has increased 3.2% from last February to $609,100. This benchmark price is more complex than a simple average, and is intended to indicate the value of a typical house, with less distortion from high-end sales.
Many younger families leave BC for jobs and a lower cost of living in Alberta. Those who stay and can afford to buy a property have family assistance with down payments or choose to move to the suburbs. Some families and singles have bought new condos in the burgeoning Main Street corridor close to downtown.
The benchmark price for detached properties increased on par with overall properties by 3.5%, to $932,900. The 1,032 detached homes sold last month represents a 46.6% increase over this time last year. Similarly, apartments went up in price 3.6% to $373,300, and have enjoyed a 35.8% increase in sales. While attached property sales have improved by a comparable amount with a 39.9% increase relative to last February, costs have stayed more constant, increasing only 0.6% to $458,300.
The whole downtown condo scene is full of young children. There are lotteries held in the popular school catchment areas for kindergarten entrance. One father was distraught that his daughter would be driven 1.3 km to school when their building was next door to the school they wanted and didn't get in the lottery.
Richmond BC Real Estate Market Report
Richmond is busy with new luxury homes selling around $2million. Many buyers are interested in homes around $1million in established neighbourhoods with easy access to Vancouver. There are multiple offers on well-priced well-located properties. The North Shore is busy. Homes near popular schools in North Van are selling well mostly under $2 million. The clean air and good schools are attracting Asian immigrants in larger numbers. Some top realtors have hired Mandarin speaking associates as have Westside realtors for many years.
There were 144 detached units sold in Richmond in February 2014, which represents an increase by 61.8 per cent from the 89 units sold in February 2013, and 26.32 per cent from January 2014 with 114 recorded sales. The benchmark price of a detached unit was $935,100.
Attached property sales in Richmond in February 2014 totalled 79, which was 58 per cent more than 50 units sold in February 2013, and also 29.51 per cent more than in January 2014. The benchmark price of an attached unit was $508,200.
Total number of sales of apartment properties in Richmond reached 116, a 45 per cent increase from 80 apartments sold in February 2013, and a 30.34 per cent increase from the apartment sales in January 2014. The benchmark price of an apartment was $350,200.
The Vancouver City Council has been actively working to densify residential neighbourhoods which has had some blowback from the public. The rezoning around the Skytrain and Canada Line stations has resulted in mini town centres being developed with housing and retail included. This policy has created more condominium units but prices have escalated for the properties in established neighbourhoods now served by transit.