Greater Vancouver Home Sales Surge in March: REBGV

Joannah Connolly
April 4, 2017


Spring may have been slow to take hold in terms of the weather this year, but in terms of real estate sales it was a typically busy spring market in March.

Home sales in the Greater Vancouver region last month surged by nearly 50 per cent compared with February, showing the third-busiest March in at least the past 10 years, according to statistics published by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) April 4.

Sales on the MLS® in March were nearly 30.8 per cent lower than the record-smashing March 2016, which was the peak of home sales ever recorded, but they were still 7.9 per cent higher than the 10-year average for the month (see infographic below).

As with the Fraser Valley, and also in both regions last month, a very limited supply of new inventory seems to be preventing the market from recovering even further. In turn, active listings as of the end of March were up a meagre 3.1 per cent year over year and were even lower than February’s.

Just like in February, March’s monthly increase in sales with no similar increase in supply, pushed the market even further back into seller’s market territory in March, with the sales-to-listing ratio jumping dramatically to 47.2 per cent.

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

March's composite benchmark price was $919,300. This is 1.4 per cent up from the previous month, and 12.7 per cent higher than March 2016, according to the board.

Sales and Listings
After a slow start to the year, there were 3,579 residential sales on the Greater Vancouver MLS® in March, a drop of 30.9 per cent compared with March 2016, but a rise of 47.6 per cent over February’s 2,425 home sales.

March’s transaction total was 7.9 per cent higher than the 10-year average for the month.

As usual, however, the figures varied significantly when broken down by property type. Some 1,150 single-family homes exchanged hands in March – a drop of 46.1 per cent from the record-breaking detached home market of last March, but a leap of more than 54 per cent over February this year.

Townhome, row home and duplex properties saw 588 unit sales in March, a 25.2 per cent decrease from March 2016, but a 45.5 per cent rise month over month.

Condo sales kept their upward trajectory, with 1,841 units sold in March. This was a decline of 18.3 per cent compared with March 2016, but a 44.4 per cent increase since February.

Potential sellers were still somewhat reluctant to list their homes in March, with 4,762 new listings coming up for sale – 24.1 per cent less than in March 2016. However, there were some signs of spring movement, as the figure is nearly 30 per cent higher than this year’s very slow February.

Active listings as of the end of March totalled 7,786 homes, a slight 3.1 per cent increase compared with March 2016 and almost flat with February at a 0.1 per cent decrease.

Once more, due to sales rising month over month but supply remaining comparatively constrained, the overall sales-to-active listings ratio is firmly in seller’s market territory at 47.2 per cent, up another 15 points over February’s jump.

Benchmark Prices

The combined residential benchmark price (all property types) in Greater Vancouver in March was $919,300 – an increase of 1.4 per cent from the previous month, and 12.7 per cent higher than March 2016, but just under a percentage point lower than the price peak of around six months ago.

This slight six-month decline, however, is entirely led by single-family home benchmark prices. Last month these were 10.9 per cent higher than March 2016 at $1,489,900 – and one per cent higher than February’s price, but five per cent lower than six months ago.

Attached home benchmark prices saw another year-over-year rise, up 16 per cent to $685,100, an increase of 1.4 per cent since February and higher than six months ago by 1.3 per cent.

Condo-apartment prices saw the biggest month-over-month rise, and also took the prize for annual increase, at $537,400. This is 16.1 per cent more than a year ago, up 2.1 per cent over February and an impressive 5.2 per cent over the past six months.

“Home prices will likely continue to increase until we see more housing supply coming on to the market,” Oudil said.

Home prices vary widely throughout the REBGV region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific location, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the REBGV full statistics package.

Joannah Connolly: is the editor and content manager of and Real Estate Weekly newspaper, and editor-in-chief of Western Investor and West Coast Condominium.

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