Although a lull in home-buying is expected in August, last month showed a particularly sluggish market, as the latest Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver data reveals.
MLS home sales across the board's jurisdiction, including Squamish, totalled 1,929 in August. That's a 36.6 per cent decrease from August 2017, and a 6.8 per cent decline compared with July 2018.
The total number of transactions was 25.2 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
This slowing of sales is combining with a rise in active listings to give a much more balanced market for buyers than was seen in the past few years.
As of August 31, there were 11,824 homes listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver, which is 34.3 per cent more than in August 2017.
Overall, Metro Vancouver is now in a balanced market, with a sales-to-active listings ratio of 16.3 per cent.
However, it varies by property type, with a market favouring buyers at 9.2 per cent in the detached home sector, townhomes just creeping into a balanced market at 19.4 per cent, and condos still in a seller’s market at 26.6 per cent.
Phil Moore, REBGV president, said, “Home buyers have been less active in recent months and we’re beginning to see prices edge down for all housing types as a result. Buyers today have more listings to choose from and face less competition than we’ve seen in our market in recent years.”
Home prices have been sliding since May this year, although they remain a little higher than a year ago. The composite benchmark price for all home types in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,083,400, which is 4.1 per cent more than in August 2017 but a 1.9 per cent decrease since May.
Sales and prices by property type and area
As ever, markets vary wildly depending on both the home type and area – and for buyers looking to get into a detached home, the market is certainly improving. There were just 567 sales of single-family homes in the region in August, a 37.1 per cent decrease from the 901 detached sales recorded in August 2017.
Detached houses are the only property type to see benchmark prices now standing at lower than one year ago. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,561,000, which is a 3.1 per cent decrease from August 2017.
Again, though, it also depends where you are. West Vancouver and Vancouver West saw the biggest annual detached home price declines, with values dropping by 11.2 per cent and 10.3 per cent respectively from a year ago. However, single-family home prices in Whistler, on the Sunshine Coast and in Maple Ridge were all up more than eight per cent year over year, with Pitt Meadows houses up 7.4 per cent and Squamish up 5.1 per cent.
The region’s townhome sales last month were also slow, at 337 units, which is a 36.3 per cent decrease over the sales in August 2017. The board has pegged the current benchmark price of an attached home at $846,100, which is a 7.9 per cent increase over August 2017 and a 0.8 per cent decrease since May 2018.
Vancouver West saw the region’s weakest annual price increase in the townhome market, up just 1.1 per cent from August 2017. On the other hand, nine MLS areas saw double-digit value growth in this sector, led by Pitt Meadows, where townhome prices are up 18.6 per cent over last year. This was followed by strong townhome price growth in Whistler, New West, Burnaby East, Port Moody, Ladner, Maple Ridge, Tsawwassen and Squamish (up 10.2 per cent year over year).
Overall sales of condos dropped by a similar amount last month compared with last year, with the 1,025 sales representing a 36.5 per cent decrease compared with August 2017. However, the condo benchmark price is not dropping at the same rate as other property types. Although the benchmark is 1.6 per cent off its May peak, now at $695,500, this is still a 10.3 per cent increase over August 2017.
Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows again led annual price growth for condos, with both seeing prices more than 22 per cent higher than a year ago. Squamish also saw fairly strong price increases in the condo market, up 12.3 per cent over last year. And once more, Vancouver West was the area to see the lowest annual increase in values, with condos typically priced 4.8 per cent higher than one year previously.
Home prices vary widely in different areas throughout the region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific location and by property type, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the full REBGV statistics package.