The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s News Release in January reveals that home sales in Vancouver are up when compared to historic January norms. However, this news is tempered somewhat by the decrease in new listings, although how that decrease will play out remains to be seen.
One of the key takeaways from the update is that January 2015 represents one of the strongest Januarys of recent record. Compared to a 10-year average of sales for the month of January, this year’s results are 14.9% higher than normal.
One of the effects of this dichotomy between sales and listings is a highly competitive environment. Ray Harris of the REBGV notes that the competition is growing particularly fierce when it comes to detached homes. In the release, he is quoted as pointing out that it has been four years since so few detached homes were listed for sale in the Greater Vancouver Area.
To pull this into focus, one only has to look at the gap between new listings in January of 2014 and those listed in 2015. For combined properties across the city, there were 5,345 new listings in January of 2014. This year, there were only 4,737, the equivalent of an 11.4% drop-off.
Prices Continue to Climb
Meanwhile, prices are continuing a slow and steady increase. Year-over-year, the price has climbed 5.5 %. The average price of all homes sold this January came out at $641,600.
A Slowdown From December
January might be up compared to January of 2014, but overall sales are down from the previous month. Overall, the number of sales in January dropped, often by double-digit percentile points when compared to December. There were a few neighbourhoods that proved immune from this effect however.
New Westminster, for instance, actually saw more sales of detached, attached and apartment homes in January of 2015 compared to December of 2014. The Whistler-Pemberton area also saw an increase in the sale of attached homes and apartment condos. However, a few other anomalies aside, most neighbourhoods saw a sales decrease.
Listings Up From December
The positive news on the listings front is that while they might be down compared to January of 2014, they are up considerably from December of last year. Listings increased by 4.8 % between December and January, although total listings are down by 14.2% compared to January 2014.
Neighbourhoods With Rising Value
Another observation regarding rising prices involves how some neighbourhoods are far outstripping others in year-over-year price increases. For example, the year-over-year change in benchmark price for an apartment in Squamish has increased by 18.6% this year. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Maple Ridge has seen a 10% decrease in the benchmark price over the same period of time. Whistler, West Vancouver and Port Moody have seen the next greatest increases in year-over-year benchmark prices, in that order.
‘Competitive’ seems to be the watchword in terms of the January real estate figures in Vancouver. With listings scarce and sales up compared to January of 2014, the market seems to be breeding competition around several corners.