Vancouver realtors say demand picking up as prices begin to rise again

Garry Marr | April 4, 2017 6:05 PM ET

Realtors in Canada’s most expensive city for housing predict prices will continue to rise amid a shortage of listings they maintain is stifling the market.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Tuesday that demand picked up in the condo and townhome segment of the market, something the group maintains coincides with a shortage of supply.

“Home prices will likely continue to increase until we see more housing supply coming on to the market,” said Jill Oudil, president of the board, in a statement.

The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $919,300 in March, a 1.4 increase from February but still a 0.8 decrease over the past six months.

Residential property sales in the region reached 3,579 in March 2017, a decrease of 30.8 per cent from the 5,173 sales a year earlier, a record breaking month. March, 2017 sales climbed 47.6 per cent compared to a month earlier and were 7.9 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“While demand in March was below the record high of last year, we saw demand increase month-to-month for condos and townhomes,” said Oudil. “Sellers still seem reluctant to put their homes on the market, making for stiff competition among home buyers.”

New listings for all properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,762 in March 2017, a 24.1 per cent decrease compared to the 6,278 units listed a year earlier. March new listings climbed 29.9 per cent from February but even with the increase it was the worst March for new product since 2009.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS system in Metro Vancouver was 7,586, a 3.1 per cent increase compared to a year earlier and a 0.1 per cent decrease from February, 2017.

The sales-to-active listings ratio for March, 2017 was 47.2 per cent, a 15-point jump from February. “Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months,” the board said in its release.

In the detached property segment, there were 1,150 sales in March, a 46 per cent decline from a year earlier. The benchmark price for detached properties was $1,489,400, a 5 per cent per cent decrease over the past six months but a one per cent increase compared to February, 2017.

Sales of apartment properties in March fell 18.3 per cent from a year ago. The benchmark price of an apartment property was $537,400, a 5.2 per cent increase over the past six months and a 2.1 per cent increase compared to February, 2017.

Financial Post


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