The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver calls it a buyer's market, but buyers were in short supply during August. Only 1,649 MLS® properties changed hands in Greater Vancouver, and that was 39.2 per cent below the 10-year average for the month.
Single-family homes were suddenly out of favour with buyers. (Could it be the prices?) For instance, only 24 single-family houses sold in West Van in August, and only 42 in Burnaby. But then, houses didn't fare well in any of the areas that are usually pretty reliable for sales. Compared to August 2011, these areas saw drops of 30 per cent or more in single-family home sales:
West Vancouver: -70 per cent
Burnaby: -56.25 per cent
Coquitlam: -48.22 per cent
Vancouver East: -46.63 per cent
Vancouver West: -42.31 per cent
Richmond: -36.85 per cent
North Van: -30.14 per cent
Condo and townhouse sales didn't suffer the same mass decline. Only a few dropped by 30 per cent or more. In condos, Burnaby sales dropped 48.53 per cent and Richmond 32.3 per cent. In townhouses, Coquitlam sales dropped 50 per cent, North Vancouver 39.14 per cent, Vancouver East 34.79 per cent, and Burnaby 31.82 per cent.
REBGV president Eugen Klein suggests: "For sellers it's critical to work with your REALTOR® to understand today's market and to develop the best strategy for selling your home."
But if you don't have to sell your home right now, why would you? Sellers seem as reluctant to sell as buyers are to buy.
New listings have been falling off for the last three months-down 18.9 per cent in June, 14.5 per cent m/m in July and 15.8 per cent in August-but at 17,567, the number of active listings is still 13.8 per cent higher than last August.
Normally in September there's a burst of listing activity to start off real estate's second-busiest season. This year, who knows? For those homeowners brave enough to list, it's going to be more of a slog than any time since the 2008-09 trough.
REW.ca is the online Real Estate Weekly, and the Lower Mainland's local search engine for MLS® and new home listings.