With more than double the number of listings from last year, homebuyers on the West Side can apparently afford to take their time.
The number of homes on the market in the Dunbar area is up almost double from this time last year, according the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Board president elect Sandra Wyant said the increased supply means buyers have more time to shop around.
"There isn't that kind of pent up pressure, this 'Oh my God we have to make a decision today' feeling," she said. "Buyers are taking their time to make a purchase."
Kevin Skipworth of Dexter Associates Realty said 130 Dunbar area homes are currently on the market-up from 65 this time last year. Skipworth said listings are up across Vancouver. "People are wanting to list because they've seen their neighbours sell," he said.
The increased supply means buyers are not jumping on the first residential properties that come on the market. The number of homes sold reflects that, said Wyant. More than 30 Dunbar-area homes sold in April 2011, while that number is closer to 21 this year.
Prices have had to adjust to meet demand. Last year, the average cost of a detached home in the area was around $2 million. Now a similar home goes for $1.84 million. "Either the supply has to come down or there may be an adjustment on pricing, but it's hard to say how much," said Skipworth.
Ken Charko, a former NPA city council candidate and owner of the Dunbar movie theatre, thinks this market cycle indicates a fundamental change in the neighbourhood.
"I can say some of the people I know are getting some pretty insane offers," he said. "I don't know where else you'd get a lot going for two, two and a half million just to tear it down."
Charko said many longtime area residents are interested in downsizing. "They purchased a house, even a simple house, 18 or 19 years ago for $400,000, and it's now cresting $2.2 million. They don't want to have all that equity tied in," he said.
Charko said he has heard of residents on adjacent lots being offered more money by developers who hope to demolish existing homes and build multi-family units.
"The pressure on the city will be turning those larger-size blocks into multi-family dwellings," he said.
Charko did not think residents were selling out of fear that real estate prices have reached a peak.
Skipworth said fears of a housing bubble are overblown.
"Vancouver is always going to be popular, there's always going to be demand there," he said. "Markets ebb and flow all the time, and we're just seeing that right now."