It's been a relatively slow summer and fall housing market for most areas of the province. That being said,
prices have remained stable through the balance of 2012. So our forecast from December 2011 was half
right: our survey of managers at that time predicted flat prices and a similar number of sales. We were right
on the first forecast and wrong on the second.
Much of the blame for the decrease in housing sales can go to the federal government, which moved to
tighten mortgage rules in June of this year. Historically, tightening of this type has led to a slower housing
market for the following 3-6 month period, followed by a return to a normal market after the adjustment. That
means that we expect both prices and sales to remain flat for the balance of 2012.
For those that are worried (or excited) about a drop in prices, Macdonald Realty recently had its bi-annual
real estate conference where TD Bank Chief Economist Craig Alexander presented that he sees no
evidence of a looming external shock on the Canadian market to justify these concerns. Interest rates and
unemployment will need to rise dramatically in order to precipitate a significant fall in prices and there is no
reason to believe either of those will occur in the near future. In fact, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank
of Canada, has recently had to pull back from his threats to raise interest rates due to the fragile economic
situation, while it looks as though the US economy is finally on a slow but steady recovery from the Great
To help you keep tabs on what's happening in your market, Macdonald Realty has recently introduced
Housing Market Infographics that will give you a snapshot of various real estate markets throughout British
Columbia. Click here to take a look:
The Greater Vancouver housing market saw a slight increase in the number of home sales, a slight
reduction in the number of listings, and a slight decrease in home prices in October compared to the
summer months. With those changes, the sales-to-active-listings ratio increased to 11 per cent in October
from 8 per cent in September.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported 1,931 residential property sales of
detached, attached and apartment properties on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October,
a 16.7 per cent decline compared to the 2,317 sales in October 2011 and a 27.4 per cent increase
compared to the 1,516 home sales in September 2012.
October sales were 28.5 per cent below the 10-year October sales average of 2,700.
“Buyer demand increased slightly in October compared to the previous few months,” Sandra Wyant,
REBGV president-elect said. “Overall conditions in today’s market remain in favour of buyers, with low
interest rates, more choice, and less time pressure in terms of decision-making. This translates into a
calmer atmosphere for those looking to buy a home and it places more onus on sellers to ensure their
homes are priced to compete in today’s marketplace.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,323 in
October. This represents a 1.2 per cent decline compared to October 2011 when 4,374 properties were
listed for sale on the MLS® and an 18.8 per cent decline compared to the 5,321 new listings in September
At 17,370, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 12 per cent from this
time last year and declined 5.3 per cent compared to September 2012.
Since reaching a peak of $625,100 in May, the MLS Home Price Index® (MLS HPI®) composite benchmark
price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver declined 3.4 per cent to $603,800 in October. This
represents a 0.8 per cent decline compared to last year.
“There’ve been modest price changes since they peaked in the spring. The largest reductions have
occurred in the areas and property types that experienced the biggest price increases over the last few
years,” Wyant said.
Since hitting a record high in April, the benchmark price of a detached home on the Westside of Vancouver
has declined 8.6 per cent while detached homes in Richmond and West Vancouver have seen declines
of 6 per cent over the same time period.
Sales of detached properties in Greater Vancouver reached 790 in October, a decrease of 18.9 per cent
from the 974 detached sales recorded in October 2011, and a 19.1 per cent decrease from the 976 units
sold in October 2010. Since reaching a peak in May, the benchmark price for a detached property in Greater
Vancouver has declined 4.1 per cent to $927,500.
Sales of apartment properties reached 803 in October 2012, a 16.2 per cent decrease compared to the
958 sales in October 2011, and a decrease of 18.4 per cent compared to the 984 sales in October 2010.
Since reaching a peak in May, the benchmark price for an apartment property in Greater Vancouver has
declined 2.9 per cent to $368,800.
Attached property sales in October 2012 totalled 338, an 11.5 per cent decrease compared to the 382
sales in October 2011, and a 10.3 per cent decrease from the 377 attached properties sold in October
2010. Since reaching a peak in April, the benchmark price for an attached property in Greater Vancouver
has declined 2.9 per cent to $457,700.