The summer of 2012 drew to a close in September with home sale activity well below historical averages in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 1,516 in September, a 32.5 per cent decline compared to the 2,246 sales in September 2011 and an 8.1 per cent decline compared to the 1,649 sales in August 2012.
September sales were 41.6 per cent below the 10-year September sales average of 2,597.
“There’s been a clear reduction in buyer demand in the three months since the federal government eliminated the availability of a 30-year amortization on government-insured mortgages,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said. “This makes homes less affordable for the people of the region.”
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,321 in September. This represents a 6.3 per cent decline compared to September 2011 when 5,680 properties were listed for sale on the MLS® and a 31.6 per cent increase compared to the 4,044 new listings in August 2012.
At 18,350, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 14.1 per cent from this time last year and increased 4.5 per cent compared to August 2012.
“Today, our sales-to-active-listings ratio sits at 8 per cent, which puts us in a buyer’s market. This ratio has been declining in our market since March when it was 19 per cent,” Klein said.
The MLS HPI® composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is $606,100. This represents a decline of 0.8 per cent compared to this time last year and a decline of 2.3 per cent over last three months.
“Prices in the region remain relatively stable overall, although we do see some reductions in the areas that have had some of the largest price increases over the last year or two,” Klein said.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in September 2012 reached 594, a decrease of 37.9 per cent from the 957 detached sales recorded in September 2011, and a 31.4 per cent decrease from the 866 units sold in September 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties decreased 0.5 per cent from September 2011 to $935,600.
Sales of apartment properties reached 676 in September 2012, a 26.7 per cent decrease compared to the 922 sales in September 2011, and a decrease of 30.4 per cent compared to the 971 sales in September 2010. The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 0.7 per cent from September 2011 to $368,600.
Attached property sales in September 2012 totalled 246, a 33 per cent decrease compared to the 367 sales in September 2011, and a 35.8 per cent decrease from the 383 attached properties sold in September 2010. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 2.7 per cent between September 2011 and 2012 to $458,600.
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For the second month in a row, property sales on the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) have decreased to historically low levels. In September, a total of 857 sales were processed on the MLS®, a decrease of 26 per cent compared to 1,165 sales in September 2011 and 20 per cent fewer than in August.
Scott Olson is the president of the Board. “Our market was very stable up until July and then within two months it changed.
“The federal government’s tightening of mortgage rules this past spring may be having an effect. We’ve seen this pattern before when rules have changed and hopefully given the strength of our local economy and stability of interest rates, this slowdown will be short term.”
Olson adds that properties offering more affordability remain in demand. “Sales of more expensive homes – single family detached – have decreased disproportionately more than the sales of townhomes and apartments. In fact, apartment sales last month in Surrey, Langley and White Rock were higher or comparable to September of last year keeping prices across the Fraser Valley resilient.”
Over the last three months, prices for all three residential property types combined have decreased by 0.4 per cent while year over year they’ve increased by 2.1 per cent. For single family detached homes, the benchmark price increased by 3 per cent in one year, going from $533,400 in September 2011 to $549,500 last month.
For townhouses, the benchmark price in September was $300,500, a decrease of 1.7 per cent compared to $305,700 during the same month last year. The benchmark price of apartments in Fraser Valley in September was $207,000, an increase of 4.1 per cent compared to $198,800 in September 2011.
Last month, the Board received 4 per cent fewer listings than it did one year ago, 2,544 in September 2012 compared to the 2,651 in September 2011. The number of active listings finished at 10,348 in September, 2 per cent higher than the same month last year, yet on par with the number available on the market in August.
It took four days longer on average to sell a detached home last month compared to September 2011 – 49 days compared to 45. Townhouses sold in an average of 57 days in September compared to 52 last year and last month, apartments took 69.5 days on average to sell compared to 63 during September of last year.
See the full statistics package for September here.