It's definitely interesting times in the Vancouver real estate market at the moment. There are not a lot of general trends that are consistent across market segments and it's not until you break those segments down that a real sense of the market begins to develop. To help facilitate that understanding, we have broken out our 'attached' statistics into two separate categories: condos and townhomes. This should help give you a clearer picture of what each segment is doing.
The one consistency we are seeing is that, on the whole, detached sales improved compared to a sluggish January while condo and townhome sales slipped further. The latter is an interesting development given that February typically marks the start of the upswing we see in activity with the Spring market. We have, in years past, seen this upswing delayed into March, so we will be keeping a close eye on the March numbers.
For this month, let's start with our more positive segment, the detached house market. The Eastside market showed the most month-over-month growth at over 41%, though it was well beyond (52.9%) the hot February of last year. Average sales prices stayed constant while inventory levels rose only slightly. Due primarily to the new mortgage restrictions that require 20% down on homes over a million dollars, we are seeing a lot of activity in the $700,000-999,000 range, with a substantial drop off above that. The trends on the Westside are almost identical, with the exception of price point. Here, we have actually seen the average sale price rise with a few sales over the $10 million dollar mark, though median pricing is up just 4.3%. North Vancouver also exhibited sign of strange in the upper end market with 20% of February sales coming over the $1.4 million mark. The entry level market here was also strong, with anything below $800,000 flying of the shelves.
On the attached side of the equation, Westside condos and townhomes both show similar drops in sales and pricing. Inventory levels for both are below what we saw last year and supports the common refrain we are hearing from our buyers right now, which is "if it's a buyers market, why aren't there more places to look at?". It also suggests that the lower sales volumes we are seeing have as much to do with lacking inventory as they do with other market factors. On the Eastside, townhome and condo sales both dropped sharply while subtle increases in inventory we observed. Townhome prices have actually strengthened here, while condo prices have slipped 6.1% over last year. In North Vancouver, townhome sales dipped lower with townhomes than with condos, with condos also showing more substantial decreases in pricing. Inventory levels for townhomes remain fairly constant, while active condo listings have decreased compared to last year. Downtown, both sales activity and active listings dropped substantially, with prices also showing a 13.2% average drop and a dip of 6% in price per square foot.
While sales numbers are lower than we are used to for February, we are expecting a very busy March/April as more inventory hits the markets and anxious buyers jump back in. Pre-approval applications with banks are high, indicating that there is a very active group of buyers waiting in the wings. With some more quality inventory and a subtle adjustment downwards in pricing for a few properties currently listed, we should see much stronger sales numbers next month. Seller's must make sure their homes stand out at their respective price point to sell quickly. Sharp pricing and professional staging goes a long way.
If you have any questions or comments, I look forward to hearing from you.
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COnnect your home to your phone
Here is a very cool gadget called Lockitron. I haven't yet gotten a chance to use it myself, but I have ordered it. It's as simple as placing the Lockitron over the deadbolt on your door! It connects to your phone, so you can lock and unlock your door from anywhere and you can share the ability to operate the door with your friends and family, all without seeing the device from the outside of your house. You can choose to get a message anytime the door opens (useful when your'e on vacation) and the best part? The device has Bluetooth so you can simply walk up to the door and it unlocks for you. . Read more >>
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