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May 2013 Real Estate Statistics Release from the REBGV

The REBGV has just released its May real estate statistics press release. It is quoted below, and my comments follow after that.

Spring months bring balance to Greater Vancouver housing market

While the number of home sales in Greater Vancouver continued to trend below the 10-year average in May, the balance of sales and listings meant continued market stability this spring.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,882 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May 2013. This represents a one per cent increase compared to the 2,853 sales recorded in May 2012, and a 9.7 per cent increase compared to the 2,627 sales in April 2013.

Last month’s sales were 19.4 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month, while new listings for the month were 7.4 percent below the 10-year average.

“We’ve seen some steadying trends over the last three months,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said. “The number of homes listed for sale has been keeping pace with the number of property sales, leading to a balanced sales-to-listings ratio. This is having a stabilizing influence on home price activity.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,656 in May. This represents an 18.3 per cent decline compared to the 6,927 new listings reported in May 2012 and a 3.7 per cent decline from the 5,876 new listings in April of this year.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver is 17,222, a 3.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2012 and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to April 2013.

The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 17 per cent in Greater Vancouver. This is the third straight month that this ratio has been above 15 per cent. Previous to this, May 2012 was the last time this ratio was above 15 per cent.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is currently $598,400. This represents a decline of 4.3 per cent compared to this time last year and an increase of 1.8 per cent compared to January 2013.

Sales of detached properties reached 1,212 in May 2013, an increase of 2.7 per cent from the 1,180 detached sales recorded in May 2012, and a 22.8 per cent decrease from the 1,570 units sold in May 2011. The benchmark price for detached properties decreased 5.2 per cent from May 2012 to $917,200.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,136 in May 2013, a decline of 1.7 per cent compared to the 1,156 sales in May 2012, and a decrease of 7.5 per cent compared to the 1,228 sales in May 2011. The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 3.7 per cent from May 2012 to $365,600.

Attached property sales in May 2013 totalled 534, an increase of 3.3 per cent compared to the 517 sales in May 2012, and a 7.8 per cent decrease from the 579 attached properties sold in May 2011. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 3.2 per cent between May 2012 and 2013 to $454,900.

While sales remain low I do think we are starting to see a small improvement on the sales side (I stress “small). DOMs dropping, slightly, and sell/lists are improving, slightly. Sales are still way off the ten year averages, but let’s remember that ten years ago we were just entering the hottest market this area has ever seen.

Meanwhile, listings are also below the ten year average, which is a positive for prices.

Average prices were all up in May compared to April, but we haven’t set any new peaks. We’re trading squarely between some fairly firm upper and lower limits. Detached average price came in at $1,169,149. Detached came in at $574,881, and apartments came in at $$448,768.

Out of 15 sub-areas reporting across 31 categories (detached, attached and apartment for each geographic sub-category, with areas with more than 19 sales), 14 registered median selling price increases and 17 registered price decreases. Bright spots for increases were detached Maple Ridge, New West and East Van. Bright spots for those looking for price retreats were Burnaby attached, North Van detached and attached, Port Moody/Belcarra detached, East Van attached and West Vancouver detached. Most everything else saw minor changes to the median.

Compared to May 2012 we’re still markedly more down than up. Out of 32 sub-sub categories (geographic and property type) we’re down in 21 – that’s down in 67% of the categories. Again, we’re trading within a narrow range, as I predicted we would be. There is little motivation for many sellers to drop prices, while buyers are still being asked to pay extremely high prices. That’s what a balanced market looks like these days. It clearly favours sellers, even though they have to work a bit harder to get things sold.

You can download a complete copy of the REBGV May real estate statistics press release here.

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