Metro Vancouver home sales down 42.5% in November

Following October’s slight uptick, November’s transactions are hit with double-whammy of cooling market and slower season

October may have shown a slight uptick in Metro Vancouver home sales since September's dismal activity, but the latest statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show that transactions dropped again November.

There were 1,608 residential sales on the MLS in the region in November, which is a 42.5 per cent drop from the 2,795 sales in November 2017, and an 18.2 per cent decline in one month since October.

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The total was also 34.7 per cent below the 10-year average for November home sales, making it the slowest November activity since 2008, when the last recession hit.

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With the market cooling, many potential sellers are sitting on the sidelines. The number of new listings in November dropped 15.8 per cent compared with November 2017 and a 29 per cent compared with October 2018, at just 3,461 new home listings.

With sales so slow last month, the number of homes for sale as of the end of November totalled 12,307, which is 40.7 per cent more than November 2017 and a 5.2 per cent decrease compared with October 2018.

Phil Moore, REBGV president, said, “Home buyers have been taking a wait-and-see approach for most of 2018. This has allowed the number of homes available for sale in the region to return to more typical historical levels. This activity is helping home prices edge down, across all property types, from the record highs we’ve experienced over the last year.”

Metro Vancouver real estate is now sitting firmly in a balanced market. For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for November 2018 is 13.1 per cent (a balanced market is between 12 and 20 per cent for a sustained period). Breaking this down by property type, the ratio is 8.9 per cent for detached homes (firmly in a buyer’s market), 14.7 per cent for townhomes and 17.6 per cent for condos (both balanced markets). This compares with October’s ratio, where condos temporarily crept back into seller’s market territory.  

The composite benchmark price for all home types in Metro Vancouver stood at $1,042,100 as of the end of November. This is 1.4 per cent lower than November 2017 and 1.9 per cent less than October 2018.

“Home prices have declined between four and seven per cent over the last six months depending on property type. We’ll watch conditions in the first quarter of 2019 to see if home buyer demand picks up ahead of the traditionally more active spring market,” added Moore.

Sales and prices by property type and area

Detached houses continued to see the steepest price declines. There were 516 single-family home sales in November, a 38.6 per cent decrease from the 841 detached sales recorded in November 2017. The benchmark price for a detached home in the region stands at $1,500,100, which is a year-over-year decrease of 6.5 per cent and a 1.6 per cent drop since October 2018.

The areas with the sharpest price drops in the detached sector continue to be West Vancouver, where single-family benchmark prices are down 13 per cent year over year, and Vancouver West, down 10.3 per cent – with both those annual decreases increasing from one month previously. House prices in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island remain above that of a year ago – with the Sunshine Coast’s detached prices leading, up three per cent.

Sales of attached homes such as townhouses, duplexes and rowhomes totalled 282 last month, a 36.8 per cent decrease compared with November 2017 and 18 per cent lower than October’s total. The price of a typical attached home is now $818,500, which is off 1.3 per cent from October’s price but still 2.6 per cent higher than November 2017.

Only Vancouver West, Vancouver East and Tsawwassen saw lower benchmark townhome prices last month compared with one year previously. The highest price jumps in this sector were seen in Pitt Meadows, where townhomes are up 11.8 per cent since November 2017.

Condo sales dipped dramatically in November, totalling just 810, which is a 46.3 per cent decrease compared with November 2017 and a 17.7 per cent drop from October. The benchmark price of a condo is $667,800, which is 2.3 per cent higher than November 2017 but a 2.3 per cent decrease compared with October 2018.

Vancouver West and North Vancouver were the two areas to see year-over-year price declines in the condo sector, down 3.6 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. New Westminster condo prices are still going strong, up 10.8 per cent compared with the same month last year.

Home prices vary widely in different areas throughout the region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific location and by property type, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the full REBGV stats package.

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