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Market Update

MAY 2013

The Spring Market has certainly heated up through April and we are seeing strong signs for continued activity moving into the Summer months. It appears that we are finally seeing the effects of what we've been discussing the past few months: an increasing supply of homes, both in quantity and quality, allowing many eager (and patient) home buyers to jump into the market. This cause and effect has lead to interesting pricing scenarios and a very fine line in setting market price. Sharply priced listings are selling extremely quickly, with many examples of multiples offers of late, while Sellers who are 'testing the waters' with prices above current market valuations are seeing their listing sit on the market for lengthy periods. The Vancouver marketplace is an educated one... Buyers know a good deal when they see it and the know when something is over-priced. Price it well and it will sell.

Looking at the Vancouver market as a whole, the sales-to-active ratio is sitting just over 15%, which puts us in a balanced market for the second month in a row. The last time we saw this ratio at or above 15% was in May 2012, so to all the Sellers out there: the Buyers are back. Looking into the specific market segments:

Westside Detached prices appear to be fairly stable, although the number of listings has increased 5% and the number of sales has decreased 6%. The biggest sales-to-active ratio is over 25% and is found in the sub-$2 million market, showing a shift in what consumers are looking for. With sales in every price category in the detached Westside market, this market is definitely stabilizing. The Eastside detached market was booming last month with a 40% increase in sales and after only an 11% increase in listings. Ironically, prices dropped ever so slightly over last month, so Buyers saw the opportunity and took advantage of it. Every price category under $1 million dollars was performing well with a sales-active ratio of over 23%. Keep in mind that most of these homes will require some renovations to be comfortably enjoyed, and many of these buyers are budgeting for that. North Vancouver has continued to show solid numbers. The number of listings has increased 13%, with an increase in sales and a 10% increase in Median Price. North Vancouver is showing strong demand in every price category under $1.5-million dollars, with a majority of them hovering around the $1-million dollar mark.

Examining the Townhome and 1/2 Duplex market in the Westside: The number of listings and sales are both up from last month with a 4% decrease in pricing landing at an average of $850k. With most sales occurring in the 3 bedroom market, this is where many young families are buying. The average price per sqft is hovering over the $600 mark, this month averaging $630/sqft. In the East, townhomes are selling for much less, at $466/sqft. Even with a 10% increase in pricing, the $660k average price for a townhome in East Vancouver is $200k cheaper than the Westside, which could be a factor in the 28% increase in sales and the 20% decrease in days on market (at 28 days). In North Vancouver, townhomes and 1/2 duplexes are remaining stable over last month with slight changes in price and sales numbers. Townhomes here are going for under $400/sqft, for an average of $650k, meaning you're getting slightly more square footage than the average Eastside attached home. The downtown townhome market is quite unique with the highest prices, highest days on market and lowest number of listings and sales, due to the luxury Coal Harbour market and the high end Yaletown townhome market.

Finally the condo market. In the Westside, you'll find a Buyer's market thanks to an increase in listings, and a decrease in sales and price. It's interesting that the median price sits at $467k and the average price sits at $572k showing that half the sales were under $467k and half the sales were quite a bit more expensive $467k (notably the 2+ bedroom condos). Downtown condos have seen a decrease of over 10% in prices since last month, with a decrease in listings as well - looks like many of these Sellers aren't willing to match the current market suggestions for price. In the East, we're seeing quite a difference over last month. Listings are up 20% whereas sales are down 20%, with prices decreasing to an average of $330-350k. With only one sale over $600k, this is still a good entry market for new Buyers. Notice the huge difference in price per sqft between the West ($630/sqft) and the East ($469/sqft). In North Vancouver, were seeing a busier market. With more listings and sales, this market is seeing stabilized prices (and the least expensive price per sqft: $445).

Our subjective interpretation of the market is clearly playing out in the numbers as well. If you have a property that is suitable for a young family then you're most likely sitting in a Seller's market. Many of our Buyers who have been looking since the fall have finally secured their new home, or are actively looking. We've experienced quite a few multiple offer situations in the last few weeks, and it seems that the Buyers who are best prepared are the most successful.

This is only the beginning of the Spring Market, so things should continue to move for the next few months. Call us if you have any questions or want to get in on the action.

Rob

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