Winter 2013 Market Update – Vancouver Real Estate

December 2, 2013

Winter 2013 Market Update


On the surface it would appear that the House market is functioning in a similar way to that described in the condo market update. However on closer inspection there is a lot more inconsistency and volatility which makes it harder to predict. On the Eastside, the single family detached market is extremely active in particular price ranges. Older character homes in popular neighbourhoods in the $800,000-1,100,000 are under a lot of pressure, with demand heavily outweighing supply. Multiple offer scenarios are commonplace and prices are being forced upwards once more, even in the traditionally quieter months of the year. However this is not the case right across the Eastside, so identifying which pocket will hit that critical mass of buyers next is the challenge. On the Westside, Chinese families (brand new to Canada or landed within the last 5 years) account for the vast majority of buyers of detached homes here (90-95% depending on who’s stats you read). This has been the case for the past 4-5 years. However their buying patterns seem to occur in waves, 2010-2011 being the last high point in terms of pricing and sales volume. 2012-2013 was quieter and most buyers stepped back to see where the prices would go. In the last quarter of 2013 however, there were signs (including competing offers) that this might be about to change again. Chinese New Year and the early spring market will tell us a lot.


Once seasonally adjusted, the second half of 2013 was significantly stronger than the first. From mid 2012 to mid 2013 sales volume right across the city was at a 10 year low. It was much needed and allowed the market to adjust back to a more sustainable level. This seemed to have been achieved by June/July 2013 and since then buyers have been willing to step back in good numbers. Prices are now stable (+ – 5% pa) and will hopefully remain so for the next year or two. Another reason to remain optimistic about prices remaining strong is the amount of inventory. With the exception of certain pockets of new construction (eg South East False Creek) the number of active listings year over year is at its lowest for 5 years in most sectors of the condo market. These stats are even more interesting when you look at them as a percentage of the total number of units in existence. 10 years there were considerably less condos in existence in the City of Vancouver, so even if the number of active listings were the same now as they were at that time, it would mean in reality a much lower percentage of owners were trying to sell at any one time. So, everything points to stability for 2014 and that’s a very nice place to start from!