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Home buyer demand remains below historical averages in the Greater Vancouver housing market. This has led some home sellers to remove their homes from the market in recent months.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 1,351 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2013. This represents a 14.3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,577 sales recorded in January 2012, and an 18.3 per cent increase compared to the 1,142 sales in December 2012.

Last month’s sales were the second lowest January total in the region since 2001 and 18.7 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.

“Home sale activity has been below historical averages in Greater Vancouver for about seven months. This has caused a gradual decline in home prices of about 6 per cent since reaching a peak last spring,” Klein said.

Since reaching a peak in May of $625,100, the MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver has declined 5.9 per cent to $588,100. This represents a 2.8 per cent decline compared to this time last year.

“It appears many home sellers are opting to remove their homes from the market rather than settle for a price they don’t want,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,128 in January. This represents a 10.9 per cent decline compared to the 5,756 new listings reported in January 2012. Last month’s new listing count was 18.9 per cent higher than the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® is 13,246, a 5.6 per cent increase compared to January 2012 and a 4.5 per cent decline compared to December 2012. This is the fourth consecutive month that overall home listings have declined in the region.

“When a home seller isn’t receiving the kind of offers they want, there comes a point when they decide to either lower the price or remove the home from the market. Right now, it seems many home sellers are opting for the latter,” Klein said.

With the sales-to-active-listings ratio at 10.2 per cent, the region remains in buyers’ market territory. Since June, this ratio has ranged between 8 and 11 per cent.

Sales of detached properties in January 2013 reached 542, a decrease of 17.8 per cent from the 659 detached sales recorded in January 2012, and a 31.7 per cent decrease from the 793 units sold in January 2011. The benchmark price for detached properties decreased 3.1 per cent from January 2012 to $901,000. Since reaching a peak in May 2012, the benchmark price of a detached property has declined 6.9 per cent.

Sales of apartment properties reached 576 in January 2013, a decline of 12.3 per cent compared to the 657 sales in January 2012, and a decrease of 19.2 per cent compared to the 713 sales in January 2011. The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 2.9 per cent from January 2012 to $358,400. Since reaching a peak in May 2012, the benchmark price of an apartment property has declined 5.6 per cent.

Attached property sales in January 2013 totalled 233, a decline of 10.7 per cent compared to the 261 sales in January 2012, and a 25.6 per cent decrease from the 313 attached properties sold in January 2011. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 1.7 per cent between January 2012 and 2013 to $449,900. Since reaching a peak in April 2012, the benchmark price of an attached property has declined 7.7 per cent.

Simon Fraser
Market Update

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