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2019 Sales Stats are in and things are looking up!

Posted by Matt Magee on January 13, 2020
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Hey all, just wanted to give everyone a yearly overall synopsis and again wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year in 2020.  Things are looking up!

In the immortal words of John Lennon – “another year over, and a new one just begun… Let’s hope it’s a good one.” For the third straight year, real estate sales in Metro Vancouver suffered through a collection of government policies aimed at achieving affordability and stability in the market, but achieving neither – in fact, making it worse. Demand has been artificially held in check leading to the start of what is typical in a real estate market, a significant increase in people wanting to make a move into or within the real estate market. And with December sales up 87 per cent compared to the same month last year, it became clear that buyers are engaging.

 

Attached are the year-end 2019 Sales and Listings Stats in Greater Vancouver. There were 25,681 home sales in Greater Vancouver in 2019 up 3 per cent compared to 2018, the 4th lowest annual amount of sales since 2000. On the positive side, it was only the 3rd time in 25 years where the number of homes sold in the last 6 months of the year were more than the number of homes sold in the first 6 months, with there being 13 per cent more sales in the last half of 2019. The previous two times this occurred, it preceded a period of increased activity in the market over the following 3 to 4 years. The number of sales in December at 2,046 were 9 per cent above the 10-year average for the month of December. There were 53,272 new listings in 2019 in Greater Vancouver, the lowest annual amount since 2003 and 3 per cent lower than the total number of new listings in 2018. The number of new listings in December at 1,666 were 4 per cent below the 10-year average.

 

The wait and see mindset of sellers continued on for a second straight year, as shown by the lack of listings coming on market and the increase in sales in the latter half of the year. Of the total sales in Greater Vancouver, 48 per cent were apartments which was down from 51 per cent in 2018 (down from 50 per cent in 2017, up from 46 per cent in 2016 and 42 per cent in 2015), 18 per cent were townhouses up from 17 per cent in 2018, and 17 per cent in 2017 (up from 15 per cent in 2016 and up from 17 per cent in 2015) and 32 percent were houses which was the same as 2018 and 2017 (down from 36 per cent in 2016 and 41 per cent in 2015). This year did show an increase in activity in the detached housing market though, more so in the last half of the year. This was especially evident in Richmond, after seeing slower sales through the year, there was a significant increase in sales in December there with a 196 per cent increase in sales year over year for detached homes, with a 121 per cent increase in sales year over year for apartments. With the decrease in the share of apartments sold, and increase in townhouses, buyers are trading up in the market and looking to take advantage in the decrease in the spread between the cost of attached homes versus detached homes. Part of the decrease in sales of apartments could be due to the shrinking number of new listings. Month’s Supply of Inventory has dropped into seller’s market conditions for apartments in most areas of Metro Vancouver, with North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Burnaby, and Pitt Meadows having 2 Month’s Supply of inventory, while the majority of other areas are showing 3 Month’s Supply. Affordability is not going to improve with a lack of homes for sale in the lower end of the market.

 

In the Fraser Valley there were 15,487 sales in 2019, which was down 0.6 per cent from 15,586 sales in 2018 and the lowest total sales in the Fraser Valley since 2013. Of the total sales, 5,770 were detached homes, 3,888 were townhouses and 4,115 were apartments. Year over year, sales of detached and townhomes increased by 0.6 per cent compared to 2018, while apartment sales dropped by 4.2 per cent. In December there were 1,247 total sales, the third best December since 2010. Active listings finished at 4,686 units in December, 20.3 per cent lower than the 10-year average for the moth, with a total of 948 new listings entering the market through the month. There was a total of 30,568 new listings in 2019, the second lowest amount in the last decade.

 

“Comparatively, 2019 was slower than normal for our region,” said Darin Germyn, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “Earlier in the year, we were still feeling the impact of the stress test introduced in 2018, but with steady job growth in our region and a stable economy, we’ve seen sales in the last few months return to above-average levels. Some sellers have been holding back on listing, waiting until the market improves, with the result that supply in many areas currently is quite tight. Without a healthy supply of inventory in the coming months, we could see upward pressure on prices.”

 

Where will the real estate market go in 2020 in Metro Vancouver? With recently released assessed values down across all classes, there will be an adjustment in sentiment as sellers come off the highs that once were and buyers look to be a part of a market that didn’t seem possible two years ago. But has this helped affordability? With the number of active listings down significantly at the end of the year, opportunity that was there has decreased significantly and where it matters most – at the lower end of the market. Those homes at the lower end of the price spectrum will see the most activity as the hangover from the mortgage stress test that came into place in January 2018 wears off. We’ve already seen multiple offers on apartments in Vancouver with 22 and 15 offers occurring on two specific listings, and many others with multiple buyers bidding. Market dynamics are moving towards seller’s market conditions for the very end of the market where affordability matters most. This begs the question, what exactly did the provincial government’s policies to ease affordability issues actually do? Real estate values at the higher end have suffered the greatest decrease in values, which didn’t ease affordability issues at all. It’s taken away potential equity from local owners.  Developers have basically been told to stop building – both at a provincial and municipal level. Populations are expected to grow by 30,000 people annually in Metro Vancouver and Amazon will be set to open its second biggest office space in Downtown Vancouver employing up to 10,000 workers in the next few years. Supply and demand will dictate prices more than anything going forward, especially at the lower end of the market. And with demand already breaking free from two years of being artificially held back and more and more buyers coming forward by the day, there just isn’t enough supply to keep up. That’s the issue that needs to be addressed.

 

Here is the breakdown of the numbers across the region:

 

Greater Vancouver: Total Units Sold in December 2019 was 2,046 – down from 2,546 (20%) in November 2019; up from 1,094 (87%) in December 2018 and down from 2,069 (1%) in December 2017. New Listings in December 2019 were up 15% compared to December 2018 and down 15% compared to December 2017. Total Active Listings were at 9,309 at month end, down from 10,907 at the end of December 2018, Month’s Supply of Total Residential Listings is at 5 Months (Balanced Market) compared to 10 Months Supply at the end of 2018 and Sales to Listings Ratio was 123% in December 2019 compared to 75% in December 2018. Year over Year, Benchmark Price is down 3.1% (Detached homes down 4.0% and Apartments down 2.7%).

Vancouver Westside: Total Units Sold in December 2019 was 356 – down from 406 (12%) in November 2019; up from 190 (87%) in December 2018 and up from 315 (13%) in December 2017. New Listings in December 2019 were up 18% compared to December 2018 and down 6% compared to December 2017. Total Active Listings were at 1,687 at month end, down from 1,947 at the end of December 2018, Month’s Supply of Total Residential Listings is at 5 Months (Balanced Market) compared to 10 Months Supply at the end of 2018 and Sales to Listings Ratio was 117% in December 2019 compared to 73% in December 2018. Year over Year, Benchmark Price is down 6.7% (Detached homes down 6.7% and Apartments down 3.0%).

 

Vancouver Eastside: Total Units Sold in December 2019 was 208 – down from 310 (33%) in November 2019; up from 113 (84%) in December 2018 and down from 239 (13%) in December 2017. New Listings in December 2019 were up 21% compared to December 2018 and down 23% compared to December 2017. Total Active Listings were at 800 at month end, down from 1,075 at the end of December 2018, Month’s Supply of Total Residential Listings is at 4 Months (Balanced Market) compared to 10 Months Supply at the end of 2018 and Sales to Listings Ratio was 129% in December 2019 compared to 85% in December 2018. Year over Year, Benchmark Price is down 1.7% (Detached homes down 3.1% and Apartments down 1.1%).

 

North Vancouver: Total Units Sold in December 2019 was 155 – down from 217 (29%) in November 2019; up from 99 (57%) in December 2018 and up from 138 (12%) in December 2017. New Listings in December 2019 were up 41% compared to December 2018 and down 59% compared to December 2017. Total Active Listings were at 466 at month end, down from 630 at the end of December 2018, Month’s Supply of Total Residential Listings is at 3 Months (Balanced to Seller’s Market) compared to 6 Months Supply at the end of 2018 and Sales to Listings Ratio was 140% in December 2019 compared to 125% in December 2018. Year over Year, Benchmark Price is down 3.0% (Detached homes down 2.1% and Apartments down 3.0%).

 

West Vancouver: Total Units Sold in December 2019 was 46 – down from 66 (30%) in November 2019; up from 30 (53%) in December 2018 and up from 44 (5%) in December 2017. New Listings in December 2019 were down 58% compared to December 2018 and up 5% compared to December 2017. Total Active Listings were at 505 at month end, down from 579 at the end of December 2018, Month’s Supply of Total Residential Listings is at 11 Months (Buyer’s Market) compared to 19 Months Supply at the end of 2018 and Sales to Listings Ratio was 77% in December 2019 compared to 47% in December 2018. Year over Year, Benchmark Price is down 4.8% (Detached homes down 3.2% and Apartments down 10.2%).

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