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Demystifying the City of Vancouver Property Tax Process

Navigating the City’s Fiscal Landscape

Owning a piece of Vancouver’s stunning real estate comes with the responsibility of understanding the property tax process. As the city evolves, so does its tax system. Let’s demystify the City of Vancouver’s property tax journey.

1. Assessment Adventure: Every January, homeowners receive an assessment notice from BC Assessment. This document determines the value of your property, a crucial factor in calculating property taxes. Keep an eye on this as it shapes your financial landscape.

2. Tax Calculation Trail: Vancouver uses the Mill Rate to calculate property taxes. The Mill Rate is applied to your property’s assessed value, determining the tax owed. It’s essentially your property’s contribution to the city’s financial tapestry.

3. Payment Pilgrimage: Property taxes are typically due in early July. The City provides various payment options, from online methods to in-person payments. Timely payments are essential to avoid penalties and ensure the smooth functioning of civic services.

4. Homeowner Grant Haven: For eligible homeowners, the Homeowner Grant is a beacon of relief. This provincial program reduces the amount of property tax you owe, providing financial respite to qualified applicants.

5. Tax Deferment Dalliance: Facing financial constraints? Explore the Property Tax Deferment Program. It allows eligible homeowners to defer their property taxes until they sell their home or it becomes part of an estate.

6. Ongoing Civic Connection: Understanding the property tax process fosters a deeper connection to the community. The funds collected contribute to vital services like education, healthcare, and infrastructure, ensuring Vancouver remains a vibrant and livable city.

In conclusion, navigating the City of Vancouver’s property tax process is a vital aspect of responsible homeownership. Stay informed, explore available programs, and contribute to the ongoing success of this beautiful city.

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Inspect Your Walls Before You Sell

Say you’re trying to sell a used car. Imagine that it’s a desirable make and model, the mileage is low, and, overall, it’s in great condition…except, that is, for the body.

Unfortunately, there are a few areas where the paint is scratched, and there are a couple of dents and rust spots too.

Are you going to have trouble selling that car? Probably. Many potential buyers will have trouble seeing past the condition of the body and hence not appreciate the true value of the vehicle.

The same thing can happen when you’re trying to sell your home.

Everything about it could be wonderful, but if the paint on the walls is faded in spots, and there are dents, scuffs and holes, buyers may notice those things more than the other more important features of your property.

So, it’s a good idea to inspect your walls to make sure they look great.

There are numerous products available at your local home improvement center for repairing gouges and holes. Fixing them is a relatively easy do-it-yourself job.

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Three Lists to Make When Selling Your Home

When you put your property up for sale, you want to make sure that potential buyers get all the information they need on the features of your home and its surrounding area. If, for example, buyers don’t realize there is a great school just a couple of blocks away, they might cross your property off their shortlist.
An effective way to make sure something like that doesn’t happen is to create three lists.

1: The “I’ll miss it” list. Chances are, there are things about your home that you’re really going to miss when you move. One of those may be the spacious living room that’s ideal for entertaining or the nearby park with scenic trails that are perfect for walking and biking.

Whatever you’ll miss, put it on the list! Chances are, those are features that will also interest buyers.

2: The “Just the facts” list. What are the facts about your property that a buyer needs to know in order to consider purchasing it? This may be a very long list including such items as total square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, property taxes, size of yard, and more.

3: The “repairs and improvements” list. Buyers are interested in the state of repair of your home, and in any improvements you have made to it. On this list include all repairs you have done during the past three years and, if possible, attach receipts. It’s especially important to include anything that has been replaced, such as the furnace or roof shingles.

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Fresh Air Sells

 

Household smells in our own homes can be a problem because we get accustomed to them. However, it takes just a few seconds in a stranger’s home, to know if a smoker lives there. The smell is in the air!

So, when you put your home on the market, think about the common smells you might have lingering in your home. Remember, you may no longer notice them, but a prospective buyer will.

These may include:

  • A diaper bin in the baby’s room.

  • Kitty litter.

  • Model-making glue.

  • Paints, even if the cans or tubes are closed tightly.

  • Food. The aroma of a spicy meal can linger for hours.

  • Garbage cans. Even empty ones, if they are not clean.

  • Strong smelling soaps, perfumes and other cosmetics and toiletries.

  • Flowers and other plants.

  • Firewood (especially pine.)

  • Outdoor shoes.

  • Ashtrays.

  • Sinks.

  • Carpets.

  • Door mats. These are especially prone to stains and smells.

Try to eliminate as many odors as possible. An hour or so before a viewing, open a few windows to give your home a breath of fresh air.

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December Market Report

Highlights of Dexter’s December 2023 report


  • Prices in Greater Vancouver were up 5% in 2023

  • Vancouver West Side detached prices showed an increase of 11.4% in 2023

  • Total number of New Listings were the lowest since 2001

  • Let the interest rate decreases begin 

  • The Buying signal is now

It would seem interest rates and inflation have made for a bit of a roller coaster ride in real estate with numbers showing we’re likely at the bottom of this rough ride we’ve been on over the last 2 years.

And while people will line up for Disney’s roller coaster, buyers and sellers chose to avoid the ride this year and the numbers certainly showed that. With near record lows for the number of new listings and sales volume declines for the second year in a row, the line up is forming for all those buyers and sellers that want to jump on a smoother ride in real estate. While we may have achieved balance in the real estate market by the end of 2023, will that continue in 2024? Once the Bank of Canada starts to decrease its rate, that will bring more buyers off the sidelines and create competition. Fixed rates have already started to decline. So, for those buyers ready to buy now, this is your buying signal. 

January rings in the new year and with that comes every property owner’s assessed value from B.C. Assessment. Perhaps talked about more than new year resolutions as everyone looks to see how their properties scored compared to others. It’s important to remember though that these assessments may not accurately reflect market value and these valuations were done up to July 1, 2023. In the Lower Mainland, the total assessed value of properties was up 3% compared to 2023. With Vancouver seeing a typical property up 4%, one of the highest in the region, along with Burnaby and Coquitlam while most other suburbs were at 2% and municipalities in the Fraser Valley showing a decrease of 2 to 3%. Hope had the highest decline at 13%. BC Assessment Assessor Bryan Murao said, “Most homeowners can expect only modest changes in the range of -5% to +5%. These assessment changes are notably less than previous years.”  

 At least we beat January, as the 1,345 properties sold in December were higher than the 1,030 sales at the start of 2023 in January. That can be seen as a positive after a year where the real estate market limped along. This after there were 1,702 properties of all types sold in Greater Vancouver in November and 1,996 sales in October. But at least there were more sales this December compared to last year where 1,303 properties sold in the last month of 2022. But still sales in December were 37% below the 10-year average after November’s sales were at 35% below the 10-year average. 

Overall, there were 26,249 sales in 2023 which was down from the 29,227 in 2022, and much less than the 44,944 sales in the fast-paced 2021. Total sales for the year were 23 per cent below the 10-year average. The last two down years were 2018 and 2019 with 25,051 and 25,679 sales respectively in those years.  Like 2022 with the first six months having the majority of sales, 2023 was no different due to interest rate hikes having their way. In the last half of 2023 there were 11,720 sales compared to 10,348 in the last half of 2022. While it’s early to call it, there is a sense of momentum change. What’s needed to help that shift in the market is more listings. There will be real estate transactions in 2024, just how many will be a function of the number of listings that come on. Sellers, buyers are waiting for you!

With current sales, we are in a balanced market with 7 months supply of homes overall in Greater Vancouver, ticking up from 6 months supply in November. With such a low volume of sales, it’s not surprising to see this. Vancouver’s West Side and West Vancouver are showing numbers above 7 months which indicates a buyer’s market. While North Vancouver, Burnaby Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Pitt Meadows continue to see the shortage of listings resulting in seller’s market conditions with less than 5 months supply.  

There were only 1,355 new listings in December after 3,440 new listings in November, 4,752 new listings in October, and 5,557 new listings in September, and slightly higher than the number of new listings in December last year at 1,240. For the year, there were 50,883 new listings in Greater Vancouver, which was below the 55,028 in 2022, and 63,711 in 2021. It was also lower than the two previous down years of 2018 and 2019 where there were 55,057 and 53,267 new listings respectively. 

The number of new listings in December dropped to 25% below the 10-year average after being close to or above the average in the last 3 months: 3% below the 10-year average in November, 5% above the average in October and 6% above the average in September. For the year, new listings were 11% below the 10-year average. With these few listings it’s not surprising to see prices climb 5% year-over-year in Greater Vancouver even amid sales that were 23% below the 10-year average. A resilient market indeed.

There were 8,802 active listings in Greater Vancouver at the end of December after November finished with 10,931, compared with 11,599 active listings at the end of October and 11,382 active listings at the end of September. After several listings expired at the end of December, January started with 7,828 active listings. Last year at the end of December there were 7,791 active listings and January 2023 started with 6,853. While we do have more listings to work with currently, there are less than the 10,907 at the end of 2018 and far below the 13,902 active listing at the end of 2012. The detached market overall remains in buyer’s market territory with 9 months supply of inventory but during the month of December the absorption rate was at 91%. Townhomes and condos continue to sit just above 5 months supply of listings on the border of a seller’s market with 106% of new townhome listings selling in December and 104% of condo new listings selling that month.  

We do not have a speculation problem; we have a holding problem. More and more real estate is held instead of sold. After 25 years, the number of listings should be higher, the number of transactions should be higher. With our population growing and demographics shifting to produce more buyers, discouraging homeowners from selling will do more harm than good. The proposed anti-flipping tax tabled by the B.C. NDP along with other demand side policies will produce less listings for buyers and put more pressure on prices to increase. Government needs to entice sellers to come to the market and until policy shifts in that direction, we’ll continue to have a holding problem and with limited supply.

 Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver: Month-over-month, the house price index is down 2.9% in the last quarter but up 5.0% year-over-year. Total Units Sold in December were 1,345 down from 1,702 (21%) in November 2023, down from 1,996 (33%) in October 2023, up from 1,303 (3%) in December 2022, down from 2,737 (51%) in December 2021, down from 3,157 (57%) in December 2020, down from 2,046 (34%) in December 2019, up from 1,094 (23%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 8,802 at month end compared to 7,791 at that time last year and 10,931 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 21% compared to November 2023, down 71% compared to October 2023, up 9% compared to December 2022, down 32% compared to December 2021, down 46% compared to December 2020, down 19% compared to December 2019 and up 7% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 7 month’s supply (balanced to buyer’s market conditions – detached homes up to 9 months supply, a buyer’s market) and sales to listings ratio of 99% compared to 49% in November 2023, 105% in December 2022 and 138% in December 2021. 

Vancouver Westside: The detached home price index was down 2.5% in the last quarter, but up 11.4% over last year – the highest in the region. A sign at how much equity and less reliant on mortgages Vancouver is. Overall, the benchmark home price index in Vancouver’s West Side was up 5.4% while on the East Side it was up 7.4%. West Side condos saw their benchmark price up 1.9% year-over-year – opportunity for some buyers in that market. Total Units Sold in December were 235 down from 315 (25%) in November 2023, down from 352 (33%) in October 2023, down from 244 (4%) in December 2022, down from 468 (50%) in December 2021, down from 486 (52%) in December 2020, down from 356 (34%) in December 2019, up from 190 (24%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 1,998 at month end compared to 1,869 at that time last year and 2,432 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 63% compared to November 2023, down 75% compared to October 2023, up 2% compared to December 2022, down 38% compared to December 2021, down 42% compared to December 2020, down 19% compared to December 2019 and down 5% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 9 month’s supply (buyer’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 95% compared to 47% in November 2023, 100% in December 2022 and 118% in December 2021.

Vancouver East Side: The benchmark price index was down 3% in the last quarter but up 7.4% over last year – with detached homes posting a 10.3% year-over-year increase which was second highest in the region. Total Units Sold in December were 148 down from 175 (15%) in November 2023, down from 231 (36%) in October 2023, up from 122 (21%) in December 2022, down from 295 (50%) in December 2021, down from 348 (53%) in December 2020, down from 208 (29%) in December 2019, up from 113 (31%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 977 at month end compared to 880 at that time last year and 1,238 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 64% compared to November 2023, down 74% compared to October 2023, up 3% compared to December 2022, down 31% compared to December 2021, down 45% compared to December 2020, down 8% compared to December 2019 and up 11% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 7 month’s supply (buyer’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 100% compared to 43% in November 2023, 85% in December 2022 and 137% in December 2021.

North Vancouver: Again, one of the few seller’s markets for inventory in Metro Vancouver. The benchmark price index was down 1.7% in the last quarter and up 5.2% year-over-year. Total Units Sold in December were 106 down from 157 (32%) in November 2023, down from 194 (45%) in October 2023, down from 107 (1%) in December 2022, down from 195 (46%) in December 2021, down from 250 (58%) in December 2020, down from 155 (32%) in December 2019, up from 99 (1%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 392 at month end compared to 385 at that time last year and 560 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 62% compared to November 2023, down 73% compared to October 2023, up 24% compared to December 2022, down 17% compared to December 2021, down 39% compared to December 2020, down 10% compared to December 2019 and up 27% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 106% compared to 59% in November 2023, 132% in December 2022 and 163% in December 2021.

West Vancouver: West Vancouver saw the house price index drop 4.9% last quarter and posted a 0.9% decline year-over-year. One of the only areas in Greater Vancouver other than the Sunshine Coast and Bowen Island to decline in 2023.  Total Units Sold in December were 41 down from 48 (15%) in November 2023, down from 53 (23%) in October 2023, up from 40 (3%) in December 2022, down from 62 (34%) in December 2021, down from 82 (50%) in December 2020, down from 46 (11%) in December 2019, up from 30 (37%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 487 at month end compared to 448 at that time last year and 593 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 62% compared to November 2023, down 68% compared to October 2023, up 15% compared to December 2022, up 8% compared to December 2021, down 19% compared to December 2020, down 10% compared to December 2019 and down 16% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 12 month’s supply (buyer’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 76% compared to 34% in November 2023, 85% in December 2022 and 124% in December 2021.

Richmond: The benchmark price index declined 2.6% in the last quarter and was up 6% in 2023 with condos leading the way at 8.9%. Total Units Sold in December were 169 down from 179 (6%) in November 2023, down from 217 (22%) in October 2023, down from 171 (1%) in December 2022, down from 387 (56%) in December 2021, down from 343 (51%) in December 2020, down from 281 (40%) in December 2019, up from 122 (39%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 1,043 at month end compared to 919 at that time last year and 1,258 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 60% compared to November 2023, down 66% compared to October 2023, down 6% compared to December 2022, up 41% compared to December 2021, down 46% compared to December 2020, down 36% compared to December 2019 and down 19% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 6 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 104% compared to 44% in November 2023, 99% in December 2022 and 140% in December 2021.

Burnaby East: The benchmark price index declined 1.9% in the last quarter and was up 6% in 2023 with detached homes leading the way at 9.5%. Total Units Sold in December were 18 up from 13 (39%) in November 2023, down from 21 (14%) in October 2023, up from 12 (50%) in December 2022, down from 32 (44%) in December 2021, down from 41 (56%) in December 2020, down from 24 (25%) in December 2019, up from 17 (6%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 75 at month end compared to 76 at that time last year and 93 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 60% compared to November 2023, down 75% compared to October 2023, down 14% compared to December 2022, down 45% compared to December 2021, down 37% compared to December 2020, down 43% compared to December 2019 and down 40% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 150% compared to 43% in November 2023, 86% in December 2022 and 145% in December 2021.

Burnaby North: The benchmark price index declined 2% in the last quarter and was up 3.3% in 2023 with detached homes leading the way at 9%. Total Units Sold in December were 91 down from 119 (23%) in November 2023, down from 137 (34%) in October 2023, up from 78 (17%) in December 2022, down from 157 (42%) in December 2021, down from 171 (47%) in December 2020, down from 113 (19%) in December 2019, up from 50 (82%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 417 at month end compared to 353 at that time last year and 549 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 58% compared to November 2023, down 73% compared to October 2023, up 11% compared to December 2022, down 35% compared to December 2021, down 53% compared to December 2020, up 11% compared to December 2019 and down 2% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 117% compared to 64% in November 2023, 111% in December 2022 and 130% in December 2021.

Burnaby South: The benchmark price index declined 2.7% in the last quarter and was up 4% in 2023 with townhomes leading the way at 9.6%. Total Units Sold in December were 79 down from 83 (5%) in November 2023, down from 120 (34%) in October 2023, down from 94 (16%) in December 2022, down from 186 (57%) in December 2021, down from 148 (57%) in December 2020, down from 132 (40%) in December 2019, up from 51 (55%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 395 at month end compared to 344 at that time last year and 487 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 55% compared to November 2023, down 67% compared to October 2023, up 27% compared to December 2022, down 44% compared to December 2021, down 48% compared to December 2020, down 4% compared to December 2019 and down 26% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 105% compared to 50% in November 2023, 159% in December 2022 and 138% in December 2021. 

New Westminster: With an average price of $800,300, New Westminster continues to scream opportunity but with a slow listing month, that may not last long. The benchmark price index declined 3% in the last quarter and was up 5.3% in 2023 with both detached homes and condos leading the way at 6.6%. Total Units Sold in December were 46 down from 65 (29%) in November 2023, down from 81 (43%) in October 2023, down from 53 (7%) in December 2022, down from139 (67%) in December 2021, down from 151 (69%) in December 2020, down from 77 (40%) in December 2019, down from 58 (21%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 240 at month end compared to 219 at that time last year and 302 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 70% compared to November 2023, down 74% compared to October 2023, up 35% compared to December 2022, down 54% compared to December 2021, down 58% compared to December 2020, down 23% compared to December 2019 and down 15% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 118% compared to 50% in November 2023, 183% in December 2022 and 164% in December 2021.

Coquitlam: The benchmark price index declined 2.3% in the last quarter and was up 3.4% in 2023 with detached homes leading the way at 6.4%. Total Units Sold in December were 119 down from 159 (25%) in November 2023, down from 167 (29%) in October 2023, up from 81 (47%) in December 2022, down from 216 (45%) in December 2021, down from 309 (61%) in December 2020, down from 197 (40%) in December 2019, up from 89 (34%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 527 at month end compared to 452 at that time last year and 721 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 70% compared to November 2023, down 79% compared to October 2023, up 13% compared to December 2022, down 44% compared to December 2021, down 59% compared to December 2020, down 37% compared to December 2019 and down 37% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 138% compared to 55% in November 2023, 107% in December 2022 and 140% in December 2021.

Port Moody: The benchmark price index declined 0.6% in the last quarter and was up 3.8% in 2023 with townhomes leading the way at 8.3%. Total Units Sold in December were 25 down from 40 (37%) in November 2023, down from 51 (51%) in October 2023, down from 41 (39%) in December 2022, down from 52 (52%) in December 2021, down from 78 (68%) in December 2020, down from 37 (32%) in December 2019, up from 29 (14%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 128 at month end compared to 155 at that time last year and 166 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 63% compared to November 2023, down 62% compared to October 2023, down 24% compared to December 2022, down 18% compared to December 2021, down 37% compared to December 2020, up 14% compared to December 2019 and up 100% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 5 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 78% compared to 47% in November 2023, 98% in December 2022 and 133% in December 2021.

Port Coquitlam: The benchmark price index declined 2.5% in the last quarter and was up 5.4% in 2023 with detached homes leading the way at 7.9%. Another one of the few municipalities with seller’s market conditions. Total Units Sold in December were 36 down from 55 (34%) in November 2023, down from 54 (33%) in October 2023, down from 37 (3%) in December 2022, down from 107 (66%) in December 2021, down from 105 (66%) in December 2020, down from 84 (57%) in December 2019, down from 51 (29%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 154 at month end compared to 140 at that time last year and 183 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 57% compared to November 2023, down 66% compared to October 2023, down 11% compared to December 2022, down 41% compared to December 2021, down 62% compared to December 2020, down 32% compared to December 2019 and down 2% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 92% compared to 61% in November 2023, 84% in December 2022 and 162% in December 2021.

Pitt Meadows: The benchmark price index declined 4.5% in the last quarter and was up 4.4% in 2023 with condos leading the way at 7.1%. Total Units Sold in December were 19 down from 21 (9%) in November 2023, down from 21 (9%) in October 2023, down from 23 (17%) in December 2022, down from 33 (42%) in December 2021, down from 26 (27%) in December 2020, down from 27 (30%) in December 2019, up from 11 (27%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 59 at month end compared to 54 at that time last year and 83 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 56% compared to November 2023, down 70% compared to October 2023, up 16% compared to December 2022, down 50% compared to December 2021, down 30% compared to December 2020, up 8% compared to December 2019 and down 18% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 135% compared to 53% in November 2023, 191% in December 2022 and 117% in December 2021. 

Maple Ridge: The benchmark price index declined 3.8% in the last quarter and was up 5.5% in 2023 with detached homes leading the way at 6.7%. Total Units Sold in December were 100 down from 103 (3%) in November 2023, down from 110 (9%) in October 2023, up from 78 (28%) in December 2022, down from 159 (37%) in December 2021, down from 214 (53%) in December 2020, down from 130 (23%) in December 2019, up from 73 (37%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 579 at month end compared to 442 at that time last year and 718 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 49% compared to November 2023, down 69% compared to October 2023, up 56% compared to December 2022, down 6% compared to December 2021, down 38% compared to December 2020, down 3% compared to December 2019 and up 44% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 6 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 98% compared to 51% in November 2023, 120% in December 2022 and 145% in December 2021. 

Ladner: The benchmark price index declined 4.8% in the last quarter and was up 5.9% in 2023 with townhomes leading the way at 9.4%. Total Units Sold in December were 12 down from 21 (43%) in November 2023, down from 24 (50%) in October 2023, up from 9 (33%) in December 2022, down from 21 (43%) in December 2021, down from 34 (65%) in December 2020, down from 20 (40%) in December 2019, down from 23 (48%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 86 at month end compared to 72 at that time last year and 104 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 46% compared to November 2023, down 68% compared to October 2023, the same compared to December 2022, up 17% compared to December 2021, down 53% compared to December 2020, down 53% compared to December 2019 and the same compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 7 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 86% compared to 81% in November 2023, 64% in December 2022 and 175% in December 2021. 

Tsawwassen: The benchmark price index declined 3.4% in the last quarter and was up 6.4% in 2023 with detached homes leading the way at 8.8%. Total Units Sold in December were 21 up from 20 (5%) in November 2023, down from 27 (22%) in October 2023, down from 23 (9%) in December 2022, down from 43 (51%) in December 2021, down from 74 (72%) in December 2020, down from 26 (19%) in December 2019, up from 13 (38%) in December 2018; Active Listings were at 152 at month end compared to 130 at that time last year and 180 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 60% compared to November 2023, down 76% compared to October 2023, down 10% compared to December 2022, down 10% compared to December 2021, down 58% compared to December 2020, down 5% compared to December 2019 and up 39% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 7 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 117% compared to 44% in November 2023, 115% in December 2022 and 215% in December 2021. 

Fraser Valley: Sales in December were down 7% from November but up 19% from December 2022. New listings were down 56% from November but up 16% from December 2022. While the average price was down 2.5% month-over-month, it is up 4% from December 2022. Active listings were down 30% to 3,992 from 5,726 last month but up 4% from December 2022. “Back-to-back mid-year interest rate hikes slowed the market despite strong sales and new listings in the spring,” said Narinder Bains, Chair of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “This left the market in overall balance for the latter half of the year, albeit at low levels of activity. We anticipate 2024 will bring increased optimism on behalf of buyers and sellers as the Bank of Canada is expected to lower interest rates before mid-year.” 

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Selling Your Home Doesn’t Have to be Overwhelming

When people think about selling their home, many focus on all the things they will have to do: paint the kitchen; clean closets; prepare for viewings; find another home; arrange financing; start packing; etc. It can all seem very overwhelming, very quickly.

In fact, if you focus on the long to-do list, you may be dissuaded from ever making a move!

It doesn’t have to be that way.

There are many ways to make selling your home and buying another one relatively simple and easy.

Sure, there will be some work to do. You may need to prepare your property so that it looks appealing to potential buyers – cleaning, decluttering, doing some repairs, etc. Of course, you will also need to view some properties for sale in order to find your next dream home.

But those activities may not be as time-consuming or difficult as you had imagined. In fact, you and your family might actually enjoy the experience – and see it as an adventure.

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Set Learning Goals Instead of Resolutions

Are you making a New Year’s resolution this month? Whether it’s to quit smoking, lose weight, or spend more time with your family, you’ll have a much better chance of success if you turn that goal into a learning goal instead.
A learning goal is simply a commitment to learn something rather than to achieve a specific milestone.

Say, for example, that your New Year’s resolution is to get into better physical shape. A traditional goal might be: “I’m going to work out at the gym three days a week.” A corresponding learning goal would be: “I’m going to hire a fitness trainer to teach me an appropriate workout program.”

Research, published in many journals, reveals that people who set learning goals are much more likely to achieve them. They also tend to stay motivated over a longer period of time and get better results overall. So, if you set a learning goal instead of a traditional goal in the area of fitness, you stand a much better chance of actually getting fit!

Tired of New Year’s resolutions that go nowhere? Try setting a learning goal instead. It just might make 2024 your best year ever!

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Market Report October 2023

Highlights of Dexter’s October 2023 Report

Sometimes you just wonder about the short memories of Metro Vancouver home buyers and sellers. How many times have people been moaning about a tick-up in mortgage rates, about a perceived lack of homes, about too many investors and the lack of affordability. About world events hurtling us to a recession.

Plenty, so it sounds as familiar today as it did in say 2000, or in the misty past of four weeks ago when headlines and pundits were all about a housing shortage, soaring interest rates and rising home prices.

Yet, if one looks at the Metro Vancouver market this October of 2023, it is the most welcoming environment in years for both buyers and sellers.  But many appear blinded by the brilliance of what is in plain sight. Is it time for a reality check?

Housing shortage?  The Canadian Press headline this week is “Housing supply outpacing demand in Vancouver market.” This is because there are now 11,599 homes for sale in Greater Vancouver, up 12.6% from a year ago and above the 10-year average. The Fraser Valley has another 6,580 active listings, 17% higher than in October 2022. That is a total of more than 18,000 residential properties for sale, yet total October sales in the entire region were less than 3,000. Message: there is a terrific selection of homes for sale right across the Lower Mainland.

Soaring interest rates? The Bank of Canada did not increase interest rates at the October setting and now there is growing belief that rates will be coming down, perhaps as early in Q2 2024.  Economists, including those at Desjardins. “We’re not going back to zero. But I could see rates falling to about 2.5% in terms of the Bank of Canada’s policy rate,” Desjardins told Bloomberg News. Among the reasons is that many people who took out mortgages during the 2020-21 boom will renewing next year and the Bank of Canada is feeling the pressure.

Rising home prices? The median price of a detached house over the first 10 months of this year is down in nearly every market except Vancouver, West Vancouver and Surrey. The median – when half the prices are above and half below the line – provides a clear trendline. For clarity the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver uses median prices to show year-over-year and month-over-month trends in its internal sales and listing reports. This shows that, since October 2022, detached house prices are down $126,500 in both Burnaby and South Delta; down $168,000 in Port Moody, $50,000 lower in Richmond and down $100,000 in North Vancouver.

For buyers this is great time to be shopping for a home, with lower prices, a huge selection and stable and soon to be falling mortgage rates. Buyers are very price sensitive  and there is a feeling of being able to negotiate and having the upper hand on sellers. While some areas may appear to be in a seller’s market, buyers don’t believe it and are trying to get the deals they have long been hoping for. This will continue into 2024 until the first interest rate declines start. Buyers, your time is now.

Sellers, especially those in top-tier markets of Vancouver and West Vancouver, or with prime listings anywhere, are attracting traffic and there have been some multiple offers.  In many markets, including North Vancouver, Burnaby South, Port Moody, New Westminster and Ladner, the sales-to-new-listing ratio is higher than 50% and competing bids are not unheard of in the current market.

There is also a wild card in the housing mix now. The B.C. Housing Ministry has confirmed that every detached housing lot in the province (except Vancouver, which has a similar density plan) will now be allowed to add three to four new housing units. But it is up to the discretion of the host municipality whether these new units are rentals or strata units, or a combination of both. (Most members of the Union of B.C. Municipalities appear to be leaning towards rentals.) Investors should ascertain what type of housing will be allowed under the local upzoning, but the new rules will certainly increase the demand for single-detached properties and land assemblies right across the province.

One thing is likely certain: five, 10 or even one year from now, many will be looking back to the autumn of 2023 and saying, ”I should have bought then.”

Regional Reports for Metro Vancouver October 2023 

Greater Vancouver: Total residential sales just missed the 2,000 mark, reaching 1,996 in October, which was up 4% from a month earlier and also up 4% from October of 2022. We are seeing a balanced market with total listings of 11,599, up from 10,305 a year ago. The sales-to-new-listing ratio is running at 42%, down from 47% in October 2022 but reflective of a solid market. By property type, the sales ratio to total active listings is 12.9 per cent for detached houses, 20.9 per cent for attached, and 21.5 per cent for apartments. The benchmark price for all residential properties is currently $1,196,500, a 4.4% increase over October 2022 and a 0.6% decrease compared to September 2023. The benchmark price for a detached home is $2,001,400.This is a 5.8% increase from October 2022 and a 0.8% decrease compared to September 2023. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $770,200, up 6.4% from October 2022. The townhouse benchmark price is $1,100,500, up 6% from last October. All strata prices were up 0.2% compared to September 2023.

Vancouver Westside: It is the higher end of the housing ladder that is holding firm on the Westside. Despite a median price of $3.36 million more detached houses – 71 – sold in October than in a month or a year earlier and were the second highest of any Greater Vancouver market. The sales-to-listing ratio for detached houses, at 45% was the highest for any sector on the Westside. At the same time, when the most expensive new condo tower – Curv – began pre-selling in the West End, 100 condos sold despite starting prices at more than $2,000 per square foot.  Even with total condo sales down from September, October condo transactions averaged 8 per day at a median price of $844,800. Two-bedroom condos are the tougher sale in this current market. This is flagged as a buyer’s market due to a higher supply, but with a 35% sales ratio despite an increase in active listings to 2,629 properties.

Vancouver East Side: Townhouse and duplex sales almost doubled in October compared to September, with the benchmark townhouse price up 10% year-over-year to $1,118,500. Detached house sales, at 78, were the highest in Greater Vancouver with a median price of $2,045,000. Total units sold in October were 231 up 20% from both September 2023 and October 2022. The supply of total residential listings is down to 5-month’s supply and the sales-to -listings ratio of 41% compares to 31% in September 2023 and 44% in October 2022. This is technically a balanced market, but it feels like a seller’s advantage at times.

North Vancouver: With total transactions of 194, October marked the highest monthly sales since June 2023 and slightly higher (up 0.5%) from October 2022. Condos led the sales pace, with 98 transactions at median of $826,500, while 59 detached house sold at a median of $2,050,000 – a price $50,000 lower than a year ago. Active listings were at 621 at month end compared to 614 at that time last year and 627 at the end of September, but new listings in October were down 22% compared to September. This is a seller’s market with total residential listings down to a 3 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 52% compared to 35% in September 2023.

West Vancouver:  Evan at a median price of $3,650,000, detached house sales led the West Vancouver market, with 27 sales, tied with the same month a year earlier, though condos posted the strongest uptake, with 60% of the new listings selling at a median of $1,320,000, by far the highest price of any B.C. market. Total active listings were 609 at month end compared to 589 at that time last year and 626 at the end of September , though new listings in October were down 33% compared to September 2023. This is a buyer’s market, despite the premium prices, with an 11-month supply of listings and a sales ratio of 32%, highest for an October in two years.

Richmond: This is a buyer’s market due to the healthy six-month supply of 1,268 active listings, but sellers are still attracting buyers, as total monthly transactions are steady at 217,  the benchmark price 5.6% higher than in October 2022 and the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 45%, up from 43% in September 2023. A glitch is in the condo market, especially in new projects, where an October sales downturn is related both to higher lending rates and new  provincial legislation banning many short-term rentals. Still, benchmark condo prices remain 10% higher than a year ago, at $736,400. Benchmark detached house prices, at $2,155,600, have not budged in six months.

Burnaby East: This is the only balanced market in Burnaby, with 21 total sales in October and active listings at 105 at month end, resulting in a 5-month supply of listings and new listings selling at ratio of 45%. Benchmark prices are also balanced, with the composite up 1% from September 2023 at $1,192,600, the highest in Burnaby.

Burnaby North: A seller’s market in October saw total sales jump 21% from a month earlier to 137 transactions as new listings dropped 4% and the sales-to-listing ratio firmed at 47%, nearly equal to October 2023. With a total 4-month supply of active listings and benchmark prices up across all sectors, sellers are excited. Higher demand is expected for detached houses as the provincial zoning for two to four new housing units on detached lots rolls out. The Burnaby mayor fears speculation will drive house prices – already up 7.2% from a year ago in North Burnaby to $2,070,000 – even higher.

Burnaby South: With the highest benchmark detached house prices in Burnaby, at $2,199,700 in October, and total sales at 120, nearly even with a year ago, this is a seller’s market. There were just 515 active listings at months end and new listings were down 19% from September. With a just a 4-month supply and the sales ratio at healthy 53%, this is could be the hottest Burnaby market this autumn.

New Westminster: Detached house buyers are apparently discovering that New Westminster prices, now benchmarked at $1,550,700, are about $200K to $500K lower than in neighbouring Burnaby or Coquitlam and just 3.2% higher than a year ago. The higher detached sales in October– at 16 nearly double that in October 2022 – could also reflect investors looking to assemble lots because the Royal City is keen on the new provincial higher-density regulations. Note that the townhouse benchmark price is $963,700, so adding 2 strata units to a detached lot should prove profitable. All in all, this is a seller’s market with a tight 4-month supply of total listings and a sales-to-listing ratio at 53%.

Coquitlam: Total sales in October were down 2%, to 170 transactions, from September 2023 and new listings dipped 8% month-over-month in an active but balanced Coquitlam market. Prices are firm, with detached benchmarks virtually unchanged in three months at $1,796,500. It is ditto for townhouses, at $1,062,000; and condo apartments, where the $723,300 benchmark was up just 1% from six months ago. Total residential listings are up to 5 month’s supply and the sales-to-listings ratio of 41% compares to 38% in September 2023 and 58% in October 2022.

Port Moody: With the highest home benchmark price in the TriCities, at $1,139,900 in October, this is a seller’s market with a strong overall sales-to-listing ratio of 60% and just a 3-month supply of listings. Total sales in October, at 51, were up 16% from September 2023 and 16% higher than a year earlier. Supply of new homes will begin to increase in 2024 as two large single-family and multi-family projects start to take shape.

Port Coquitlam: While total transactions dipped down 17% from September to 54 sales in October, this small city remains a seller’s market, with a total sales-to-listing ratio of 47% . With a benchmark price of $954,500 and condo apartments at $631,000, these are the lowest in the TriCities, which keeps Port Coquitlam popular with buyers, who now have more than 200 active listings to choose from.

Pitt Meadows: With a benchmark home price of $925,800, Pitt Meadows has been an affordable market that has attracted a lot of development in the past three years. However, this will be a challenge soon as the city plans to boost community amenity contributions (CACs) for new housing, as most larger centres already have. The proposed increases, to be decided Nov. 7, 2023, are: single-family houses, from $4,500 to $5,200; Townhouses up $600 to $4,600; and condo apartments up $500 to $3,500 per unit. The CACs are on top of development cost charges from the city and Metro Vancouver. This is a seller’s market, with just 91 active listings and a sales ratio of 44% in both October and September.  There were only 6 condo listings and 20 townhouses listings as of the end of October.

Maple Ridge: Total sales in October were 110 up from 108 in September 2023 and up from 99 in October 2022. This is now a buyer’s market with a steady 7-month supply of total listings, 747, at month’s end and a sales ratio of 33%. The detached house price index has tracked down 2.1% over the past three months to $1,280,100 and townhouse benchmarks are unchanged since August at $771,300, with condo prices dipping to $531,600, the lowest in Greater Vancouver.

Ladner: Talk about a balanced market: Ladner’s 24 total sales in October were the same as in October 2022 and the sales-to-listing ratio was 50%. Active listings were at 119 at month end compared to 117 at the end of September. The composite benchmark home price is $1,116,200, nearly unchanged (down 1.8%) from three months ago. We have long wondered how Ladner has missed the boat on developing its downtown waterfront, which could be a terrific residential and retail opportunity.

TsawwassenWestern Investor, a popular real estate publication, has named South Delta, primarily Tsawwassen, as one of the top 5 towns for real estate investing in 2024, citing the go-ahead for the giant Roberts Bank port and the new Massey Tunnel project. However, October sales, at just 27, were down 36% from a month earlier and 4% lower than a year ago, so the hype may be premature. This is a buyer’s market right now, with a 7-month supply of listings (188), a sale-to-listing ratio of 36% and the benchmark home price unchanged from a year ago at $1,128,900. It could be the time to get in early.

Surrey: The average detached house price in Surrey increased 9.5% year-over-year to $1,690,000 in October and shot up 9.8% to just over $2 million in South Surrey-White Rock, and total detached sales increased 12.4% from October 2022 to 145 transactions. Detached sales in the city are outperforming the strata sector, as the lower-priced products are more sensitive to interest rates. “What we’re seeing in the Fraser Valley and indeed across the province is the impact of sustained high interest rates,” said Narinder Bains, chair of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. “We anticipate the trend will continue until we start to see some downward movement in the [Bank of Canada] rate.”

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Market Report September 2023

The waiting game in the Metro Vancouver housing market continues but more sellers are joining in and some are becoming impatient. One month a trend does not make. But we certainly saw more listings come on the market in Metro Vancouver in September – more so in the first half. As September moved on through the second half of September, fewer listings came on than in the first half and perhaps this was a cloud burst of new listings and not a constant shower. Much like the rain in September that came in fits and starts, while we have more inventory, it’s still far short of what’s needed.

The wild card is the direction of interest rates and, to an extent, that of the provincial economy. In any case, the pot on the table is getting larger as September saw 5,564 new listings pushed into play, the highest number since May 2023 and nearly 30% higher than in September 2022. Meanwhile, 1,926 properties were sold this September, almost as low as September of 2022, with just 1,701 transactions last year.  Today, with 11,382 active listings in Greater Vancouver and another 6,532 in the Fraser Valley – and the sales-to-listing ratio falling – we believe some sellers will tire of waiting. The question is just how many.

We can expect some asking prices to come down, especially in the detached-house sector. Arguably this has already happened.

Let’s look at the environment through a potential detached house seller’s lens. The unpopular Bank of Canada shouldn’t raise interest rates again at its October sitting. I doubt even the Governor of the BOC knows for sure what to do. Let’s hope they don’t fall for the increase in jobs reported today in Canada and base a rate increase on that number. The B.C. Finance Minister just released an economic outlook that forecasts provincial GDP growth shrinking to 0.4 percent next year. Consumer confidence is fragile.  If the rate does increase, even by a modest 0.25 percent as it did in August, it would further drag down detached house sales that are already lagging. In September, the sales-to-active listing ratio for detached houses in Greater Vancouver fell to 12.6%, signalling a buyer’s market. The benchmark detached house price fell 0.1% from a month earlier and it hasn’t budged in three months.

Those eager to sell a detached house may decide to drop their asking price now because the demand for homes benchmarked at more than $2 million will shrink even further. On the bellwether Westside of Vancouver, for example, the average sale price of a detached house was $403,000 lower in September than in January 2023. This doesn’t mean prices fell by that much, but that the composition of sales was such that more homes for less money sold than in January. With the cost of borrowing, lower price points are more attractive.

Some owners have taken measures to hang onto their houses: 33.3% of Canadian mortgage holders now have amortization periods that exceed 30 years, some surpassing 40 years. A handful can’t hang on.

Buyers, therefore, should continue to search through the expanded listings of detached houses and prepare to be aggressive when making offers. There could be some true bargains out there as owners and investors grapple with higher mortgage rates and flatline prices. Right now, in most detached markets, buyers have the advantage.

For wily investors with deep pockets, the new blanket zoning of Vancouver residential lots for up to six housing units, including strata corporations, could also represent an opportunity. Warning: the city expects to allow only about 150 such applications annually.

However, those hoping that a surge in new home supply, as being pushed by both the province and the federal government, will lead to lower home costs could be disappointed.

In October Metro Vancouver, which represents 21 municipalities, plans to increase development cost charges (DCCs) on new residential construction to pay for water and sewage upgrades. The increases would occur every January over the next three years beginning in 2025. For the City of Vancouver and parts of Burnaby, DCCs on a single-detached home would increase 240 percent from $10,027 to $34,133. Townhomes will also see a significant increase – up 256 percent to $30,861 by 2027. New condo apartment fees will increase 235 percent, to $20,906, during the same period. Depending on the sub-region location, the proposed combined total DCCs rate increases to $24,106 per single-family lot, $22,182 per townhouse unit, and $14,657 per apartment unit. These charges would only apply to market housing, the kind most people want.

Summary of the regional numbers for September 2023

Greater Vancouver: The composite residential benchmark price hit $1,203,300 in September, which was a 0.4% decrease compared to the $1,208,400 in August, which was a decrease from the $1,210,700 benchmark in July. By property type, the benchmark price is now $2,017,100 for single-detached homes, $1,098,400 for townhouses, and $768,500 for condominiums, with all three representing decreases between 0.1% and 0.5% from August. All sectors are seeing sales increases of between 5.3% and 5.8% when compared to September 2022. Total units sold in September were 1,926, down from 2,296 (16%) in August, down 21% from July 2023 and down 35% in June 2023, but up from 13% compared to September 2022, but 18% lower than in pre-pandemic September 2019. Active Listings were at 11,382 at month-end compared to 10,424 at that time last year and 10,082 at the end of August. New Listings in September were up 38% compared to August 2023. The inventory of total residential listings is up to 6 month’s supply (balanced market conditions) and a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 35% compared to 57% in August 2023 and 39% in September 2022. The sales-to-active listings, though is 13%.

Vancouver Westside: This is considered the premier housing market in B.C., if not in Canada, but September held some surprises. With 1,155 new listings, the sales ratio is 29%, the lowest level since January 2023, and the number of active listings, at 3,225 at month’s end, was the highest since July of 2021. With just 338 sales in September, the sales ratio to active listings was just 13%, which is in a buyer’s market. The benchmark detached house price in September was $3,553,600, up 1% from a month earlier and 8% higher than a year ago. Townhouses are benchmarked at $1,457,900, down 2.7% from August 2023, while condos are benchmarked at $1,331,600, nearly unchanged for the past two months. This is a buyer’s market in all sectors with a 7-month supply and low absorption. The Westside is prime for purchase with the largest selection in almost two years.

Vancouver East Side: Detached house benchmark prices are up 10% from six months ago but have flatlined recently, up just 1% since the second quarter and down 0.8% from August to $1,898,100. More detached houses sold (68) on the East Side in September than in any other market except Richmond (74). With Vancouver’s recent density changes for single-family lots, we expect East Side detached sales to increase. Total home sales in September were 192, down 23% from August and lower than in June and July 2023. Active Listings were at 1,157 at month-end compared to 1,088 at that time last year and 1,013 at the end of August. The supply of total residential listings is up to 6 months and sales to listings ratio of 31% compared to 66% in August 2023 and 40% in September 2022. This is a balanced market leaning towards a buyer’s advantage.

North Vancouver: There is some evidence that condo apartment sales are waning but certainly not in North Vancouver, where they represent half of all sales in September. The 84 condo sales followed 85 transactions in August, compared with 57 in September 2022. The benchmark condo price has paused, however, at $811,900, over the past three months. This may reflect a surge in condo listings, with 213 added in September, nearly double that of a month before. The result is the sales-to-listing ratio fell to 39%, down from 74% a month earlier, and opening a buyer opportunity. North Vancouver’s total residential property sales in September were 169 up from 160 in August, and up 33% compared to September 2022. Total new listings were up 86% compared to August 2023 and 111% higher than in September 202. Aside from condos, this is considered a seller’s market, with a tight supply continuing in the townhouse and detached house sector.

West Vancouver: The provincial government is pushing West Vancouver to bring more than 1,400 new housing units to the market and wants 60% of them to be rentals, half at below-market rents. Patience will be needed. Only 2,885 homes have been built in the exclusive community over the past 10 years and half of these were detached houses that now sell at a median price of $3 million. Condo apartments benchmarked at $1,331,600 in September and the 3 townhouses that sold this month were priced at more than $1.4 million each. Some reprieve for those seeking affordable housing is that West Vancouver is now a buyer’s market with a 12-month supply of total listings (626) and a sales-to-listing ratio at a low 21% in September.

Richmond: More detached houses sold – 74 – in Richmond than in any other Greater Vancouver market in September, perhaps partially due to price increases pausing over the past three months at a benchmark of $2,179,100. There was also a greater selection as 179 new listings were added, up from 150 a month earlier. The sales-to-new-listing ratio for detached houses is 41% and it averages 43% for strata units. Though total residential sales in September were the lowest in three months, at 256, Richmond is considered a balanced market with a 5-month supply, and the benchmark price has held steady since the second quarter at $1,184,700.

Burnaby East: Total sales reached just 18 transactions in September, the lowest level since May and most benchmark prices have followed suit with detached houses down nearly 6% over the past three months to $1,861600 and condo prices down 0.5% to $796,200. Townhouse benchmarks, though, are up 7% in the same period to $913,900, reflecting the low inventory. Total residential listings are up to 5 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 37% compared to 82% in August 2023 and 63% in September 2022 in this balanced market.

Burnaby North: The home of the Amazing Brentwood and related high-rise towers has a strong condo sector, but prices have stabilized recently, with the condo benchmark September price at $746,000, virtually unchanged (- 1%) from three months ago. Detached houses are trading at $2,048,900, down 0.1% from August 2023. Total sales in September were 113, down compared to August and 34% below June of this year. Active listings were 561 at month-end compared to 431 at that time last year and 495 at the end of August, due to an 8% rise in new listings month-over-month in September. This is a balanced, market with a 5-month supply of listings and sales-to-listing ratio of 37%.

Burnaby South: The most expensive Burnaby sub-market, the benchmark detached house price in September dipped 2.3% from August to $2,197,100 in September, reflecting an overall 5% sales decline, month-over-month. The benchmark was down 1% from August but remains 6% higher than a year ago. With total sales of 126 in September and active listings reaching 518 after a 31% surge in new listings in September from August, this is seller’s market. There is just 4-months’ worth of inventory and the sales-to-listing ratio is a strong 45%.

New Westminster: Total sales have been tracking down since June and settled at 72 in September, still up from 67 transactions in September 2022. Townhouse benchmark prices increased 1.3% from August, to $971,900, with condo apartment prices up 0.4% to $661,900. Detached-house benchmarks dropped 3.1% from August to $1,538,000 but remain up 3.4% from a year ago.

A total of 72 properties sold in September and active listings slipped down slightly to 298 at month end, despite an 11% increase in new listings compared to a month earlier. This remains a seller’s marker with just a 4-month supply of inventory and a sales-to-listing ratio at a healthy 42%.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam is becoming one of the better markets in Metro, with September new listings up 49% from August 2023 and sales up 19% from a year earlier, with 170 transactions in September.

The sales-to-listing ratio is running at 38%, but this is considered a seller’s market due to a tight 4-month supply of listings, which totalled 697 at month’s end. The benchmark price has held steady for three months at $1,112,900 and the detached-house benchmark is also stable, up 2.3% from a year ago at $1,789,300 as of September.

Port Moody: Port Moody finally has new strata projects underway, welcome because the total inventory of listings in September was 185, down from 187 a year ago, while sales totalled 43 units. New listings increased 30% from August, however, and the sales-to-listing ratio is 43% in this seller’s market. Even with just a 4-month supply of inventory, the benchmark composite home price in September was down about 1% from three months earlier, at $1,125,600, but still the highest in the Tri-Cities market.

Port Coquitlam: With a composite benchmark of $958,600, Port Coquitlam is one of the more affordable sub-markets in Metro and prices have been slowly declining over the past three months, as in most areas. Detached house benchmarks were down 2.1% from August at $1,408,000.  Total residential sales in September were down 4% from a month earlier at 65 transactions in this seller’s market.

There is a mere 3-month supply of listings – a total of 191 – and the sales-to-listing ratio of 47% is among the strongest in the region.

Pitt Meadows: With just two dozen sales in September, typical for Pitt Meadows, this is still considered a seller’s market because of the lack of listings – just 86 – and a sales success ratio of 45%.

The composite benchmark price is $958,600, down 0.2% over the past three months, but still 4.4% higher than in September 2022.

Maple Ridge: With 108 total sales in September, transactions have been tracking down for a year, dropping 10% from August, 24% compared to July and down 5% from September 2022. Prices have held firm, however, with the composite benchmark still 4% higher than a year ago at $999,600 and the detached house benchmark 5% higher on the year at $1,297,200. This is a balanced market leaning towards a buyer’s advantage, with a sales ratio of 31% and a 6-month supply of total listings.

Ladner: Total units sold in September were 26, up from 24 in August, the same as July 2023, and up from 20 in September 2022. A quiet market, with the composite benchmark price at $1,178,700, unchanged from August and up 7.8% from a year earlier. The action was in a 91% surge in new listings from August, bringing the total inventory to 117, but still only a 5-month supply in this mostly seller’s market, where the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 40%.

Tsawwassen: Plans are afoot to transform the aging Tsawwassen Town Centre Mall into a mixed-use development with hundreds of new strata homes. South Delta in general is on the cusp of growth with the approval of the Roberts Bank superport and work starting next year on the Massey Tunnel replacement. This could by why housing sales in September, at 42, were up 50% from August and 100% higher than in September of 2022, the biggest year-over-year increase in Metro Vancouver.

The benchmark detached house price jumped 3% from August to $1,594,500 and strata prices also edged up. New listings in September were up 37% compared to August 2023 and the sales-to-listings ratio hit 57% compared to 52% in August in this strong seller’s market.

Surrey: Detached house sales in Surrey in September were up 36% from a year earlier, but have been declining recently, dropping 3% from August 2023 to 170 transactions, while the benchmark price dipped 0.2% month-over-month to $1,671,900. Townhouse sales also reached 170 in September, but the benchmark price, at $883,500, was up 0.2% from August and 6% higher than a year earlier, based on 139 sales in September, down 27% from a month earlier, the benchmark condo price is $539,500, down 1% from August but 4% higher than year earlier. This reflects what is happening across the Fraser Valley. “With inventory levels continuing on a slow and steady rise, together with slow sales, what we are seeing is a more balanced market,” said Narinder Bains, chair of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

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Market Report for August 2023
Highlights of August Dexter Report
  • Bank of Canada holds prime rate at 5% but keeps door open to further hikes
  • Median price of a West Side detached house up $1 million in past year
  • Total new listings have been falling, month-over-month, since May
  • East Vancouver is leading all markets in detached house sales
  • South Delta detached houses are moving to a buyer’s market

It is a sad commentary on the Greater Vancouver housing market when buy and sell decisions hinge more on minuscule interest rate moves than on the pragmatic needs of consumers.  But that is what is happening. Two more consecutive Bank of Canada rate hikes in June and July – at 0.25% each – were enough to drive August housing sales down to the lowest level in six months and stall a rally in new listings, which fell 16% from a month earlier.

The Bank of Canada held the prime rate at 5% at its September 6 setting, but any confidence was dashed as the Bank warned that it would not hesitate to jack rates higher if the economy – and the housing market – began to heat up again.

The best advice for buyers is simply to take today’s higher lending rates into the equation and do the best to negate them. It is clear the Bank of Canada is failing, failing to admit it overshot on rate increases over the past year and trying to maintain the illusion it knows what it is doing.

Those considering purchasing a home between now and the next Bank of Canada scheduled rate hike announcement on October 25th should secure a pre-approved 120-day mortgage and talk to a mortgage professional about the best rate and term.

However, buyers and sellers should not be blinded by interest rate fluctuations. It is likely, considering the economic damage already done, and political pressure, that Bank of Canada rates will not increase again this year. Instead, buyers should concentrate on property values and sellers on matching their price to the market.

Buyers cannot ignore the investment dynamics this year. In the past six months, as both sales and listings fell, prices have continued to increase. The August 2023 benchmark price, at $1,208,400, is $65,000 higher than in March of this year. The benchmark detached house price was up $156,000 to $2,018,500 in the same period and the typical condo apartment price increased by nearly $40,000 while townhouse benchmark prices have risen 5% since March to $1,103,900. But August benchmark prices across Greater Vancouver were down 0.2% from July 2023 and strata prices have barely budged in three months.

A key reason for a lack of new listings is universally higher prices that have frozen sellers in place and lower rates they currently have on mortgages. A look at the 20 Greater Vancouver markets shows that the August benchmark price varies very little from Bowen Island ($1.41 million) to the Westside of Vancouver ($1.34 million) or from East Burnaby ($1.19 million) to Ladner ($1.17 million). The potential of pocketing a healthy dividend when moving within the region is diminished, persuading many potential sellers to stay put.

It currently feels like a market waiting for an excuse to buy mixed with a reluctance to sell.

Growing pent up buyer demand may be the best way to explain the status of the market. But without any increase in listings, it makes it difficult for that pent up demand to release. And there’s little to suggest we’ll see any increase in supply.

Banks are working with homeowners to keep mortgages funded – one option is allowing 30-year amortizations – and many with lower rate mortgages are unwilling to dive into the high interest rate pool and make a move. Expect that when the mortgage climate changes to more favourable buyer conditions, sales levels will increase in a significant way. The number of new listings in August was 6% below the 10-year average and has been falling, month-over-month, since May. This has kept it a seller’s market with only a 4-month supply of listings available – even with the low sales levels. This is going to keep the overall inventory of listings at two thirds the level they should be to get to balance or to favour buyers.

The bottom line is that September, often a bellwether month for sales, could ring in a traditional market rally, especially with no further increase in lending rates. This is the time for buyers and sellers to take advantage of the upturn.

If you are considering a sale, it is better to list now before fall competition increases. For those looking to buy, the current price stability offers a short-time opportunity.

Regional market data for August 2023

Greater Vancouver: There were a total of 2,296 sales in August, down 6% from July and 23% fewer than in June 2023, but up 21% from August of 2022. Active listings were 10,082 at the end of August, compared to 10,099 at that time last year and 10,301 at the end of July. New listings in August were down 16% compared to July 2023, but up 19% compared to August 2022. Despite a rally over the past six months, overall prices have stabilized. The composite home price in August, at $1,208,400, was up just 2.5% from August 2022, though 27.6% higher than in August of 2020. With a tight supply and a sales-to-listing ratio of 57% in August, Greater Vancouver remains in a seller’s market.

Fraser Valley: The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board recorded 1,273 sales in August 2023, a decrease of 6.9% compared to July. Sales were up 25.2% compared to August 2022. New listings dropped to 2,622 in August, down 8.2% from July, but 28.2% above August 2022. Active listings have been rising since last December and grew again in August by 1.5%, from July, to 6,291, just 7% off the 10-year average. The overall benchmark home price in August was $978,066 and all sector prices were nearly unchanged (down 0.6%) from July 2023 but up slightly from August 2022. The biggest year-over-year price move was condo apartments, up 2.5% from August 2022, to $553,500.

Vancouver Westside: There was a price shocker in this trendsetting market in August. Only 141 detached houses were listed for sale and 69 of them sold for a median price of $4,070,000, almost exactly $1 million more when compared to August 2022. We believe this is an unprecedented one-year median price increase anywhere at any time in Canada. To say detached demand is high is an understatement. Strata action was more muted, with townhouse and condo apartment sales and median prices nearly level with July 2023. Condo medians, at $820,875, were nearly the same as in August 2022.

Total August sales were 433, down 1% from July 2023, and up 18% from August 2022. New listings in August were down 20% compared to July 2023, but up 13% compared to August 2022. The inventory of total residential listings is steady at 5-month supply, creating a balanced market with an August sales-to-listings ratio of 53%.

Vancouver East Side: More detached houses sold on the East Side in August than in any other market in Greater Vancouver. The 80 detached transactions were also much higher than in August 22, when 57 houses sold. Prices are the key. At a benchmark of $1,913,500, East Vancouver detached prices are $1.6 million less than on the neighbouring Westside and about $100,000 below the Greater Vancouver benchmark. Some of the sales impetus could be from investors trying to assemble East Vancouver detached lots in anticipation of the higher-density zoning expected this fall, which would allow up to six housing units on detached lots. Total August sales reached 250, down from 286 (13%) in July 2023, but up from 196 in August 2022. Active listings were at 1,013 at month end, though new listings in August were down 25% compared to July 2023. This is a seller’s market with a tight supply and a sales-to-listing ratio at 66%, the highest since August 2021.

North Vancouver: The strata market is strong in North Vancouver, with a sales-to-new listing ratio of 74% and sales up sharply from both a month and a year earlier, even as sales of detached houses fell. There were 85 condo apartment sales in August, at a benchmark price of $817,400, up 0.4% from July 2023. There were 38 townhouse sales, at a benchmark of $1,312,100, but this price was down nearly 3% from a month earlier. Detached house prices, benchmarked at $2,268,000, have not budged in three months, but remain 2.4% higher than a year ago. The supply of total residential listings is steady at a tight 3-month supply, confirming this as a seller’s market.

West Vancouver: August sales were up month-over-month driven by the detached segment – not hearing that very often these days, especially in West Vancouver. It was the highest detached absorption rate since April for the community. Total sales were 57 in August and detached transactions accounted for 34 sales, at a benchmark price of $3,273,900, a price up 10% from six months ago, but still 2.4% below August 2022.

New listings in August were down 20% compared to July 2023 and down 3% compared to August 2022. This is a buyer’s market, with a 10-month supply of listings and a 39% sales-to-listing ratio.

Richmond: Richmond prices have flatlined over the past three months, though they remain about 4% higher than a year ago, with the benchmark price at $1,187,900.

Listings are down, as are new home starts. As of August 1, only 273 new condos had started, for example, down from 378 at the same time last year, and total listings were down to 1,162 at month’s end, about 200 units lower than a month earlier. We estimate there is only a 4-month supply in this seller’s market, with a sales-to-listing ratio at 64%, up from 54% a month earlier.

Burnaby East: This is a seller’s market but with few sellers and even fewer buyers, with just 31 sales in August from a total inventory of 83 homes for sale. There is only a 3-month supply on the market and the sales ratio is running at 82%, the highest in at least two years. The benchmark home price in August was $1,195,100, down 0.7% from a month earlier, but up nearly 7% from August 2022.

Burnaby North: Total sales in August reached 139, down 13% from July 2023 but up 16% from August of last year. We may see an increase in sales of detached houses right across Burnaby this year as the City prepares to allow laneway homes on detached lots. The laneway houses can be up to 1,500 square feet but they are also restricted to long-term rentals. The benchmark price of a Burnaby North detached house is $2,047,100, up 10% from six months ago but unchanged from July 2023. New listings in August were down 11% compared to July 2023, but up 36% compared to August 2022. Total residential listings reflect a 4-month supply, and the sales-to-listings ratio is 54% in this seller’s market,

Burnaby South: While total sales are up from last year, they have been tracking down for three months, with the 133 transactions in August down 24% since June and 4% below July 2023. Prices dipped 0.3% from July to a composite benchmark of $1,138,100. New listings in August were down 10% compared to July 2023, but up 26% compared to August 2022. Residential listings are steady at 3 month’s supply, but the detached market is flirting with a buyer’s market. The overall sales-to-listings ratio is 62% compared to 59% in July 2023, and 73% in August 2022.

New Westminster: The Royal City was recently named the most livable city in the Lower Mainland and Number 3 in B.C., but after a surge in July sales, it posted one of the biggest declines in month-over-month sales in August. Total August sales, at 87, were down 27% from July 2023 but up from 77 transactions a year earlier. New listings dropped 16% from July, but total active listings are steady at 299 units. This includes a welcome increase in townhouse listings, which are now at a 5-month supply. Prices are holding firm, with townhomes benchmarked at $959,600, up 3% from a year ago; condo apartments also up 3% at $659,200; and detached houses at $1,587,300, unchanged from July 2023 but 9% higher than a year earlier. New West remains a seller’s market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 56%.

Coquitlam: With the imminent start of the massive Fraser Mills development and other condo projects, Coquitlam will be seeing higher starts by next year, but new supply so far in 2023 has plunged. Only 795 new homes have started, compared to 1,923 in the first seven months of 2022. Meanwhile, new listings in August were down 28% compared to a month earlier and total active listings, at 599, are down from 636 in July 2023. All sector prices are unchanged from July 2023, with the benchmark price up a mere 1.2% from a year earlier. With just a 3-month supply of listings and a sales ratio of 69%, this is a seller’s market despite the flatline prices.

Port Moody: Another strata/rental project in Port Moody has stalled at the design approval stage in a city that has had challenges getting new projects to market. The latest is a proposed six-storey, 60-unit project on St. John’s with 30 strata condos. New listings in August were down 31% from both July 2023 and August 2022 and there are only 167 active listings, lowest in a year. Still, with recent approvals, 306 new apartments have started so far in 2023, compared to just 5 a year ago, so there is progress on supply. Total sales in August were down 31% from July with 58 transactions. Condo benchmark prices are steady at $729,600 and detached houses at $2,076,500, are down 2.8% from August 2022, one of the few year-over-year declines in detached values. This is a balanced market with a total sales-to-listing ratio at 75%, compared to 43% a year ago and a healthy 6-month supply of detached listings.

Port Coquitlam: A total of 60 properties sold in August, down 5% from July and off 11% from August 2002. New listings are tracking down and total active listings at the end of August were 169, compared to 172 a month earlier. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 60%, this is a healthy seller’s market and worth a look at by buyers. The benchmark home price was unchanged from July at $971,400, the lowest price in the Tri-Cities.

Pitt Meadows: Aside from Squamish and the Sunshine Coast, Pitt Meadows posted the biggest month-over-month detached house price drop in August, with the benchmark price down 2.8% from July 2023, to $1,317,800. Total units sold in August were 23, down 4% from July 2023 but up 35% from August 2022 so the detached price slide is a bit of a puzzle. The supply of total residential listings is steady at 3 month’s supply, while the sales-to-listings ratio of 60% confirms this as a seller’s market.

Maple Ridge: Total sales in August were 119, down 17% from July 2023, but up from 113 transactions in August 2022, New listings in August were down 4% compared to July 2023 and up 17% compared to August 2022. The total supply of residential listings is up to 5-month supply (balanced market conditions), with a sales-to-listings ratio of 43% compared to 50% in July 2023. The benchmark price, at $1,005,700 has held steady (up 1.5%) since August of last year.

Ladner: While detached house listings are now at 6-month supply and in a balanced market condition, the strata sector is a different story with a shortage of both townhouses and condo apartments. Total new listings August were down 43% compared to July 2023. Despite the shortfall, prices are stable: the townhouse benchmark in August was $988,000, unchanged from July, while the condo benchmark was up 2%, month-over-month, to $731,900. Detached prices were unchanged from July, at $1,446,000, up 2% from a year ago. This is a seller’s market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 73% and a tight inventory.

Tsawwassen: Detached houses are now in a buyer’s market with a 9-month supply and August benchmark prices are down 3% from a year ago to $1,547,800. Opportunity awaits detached buyers here. Townhomes are maintaining sales levels while there were more condo sales than new listings in August. There were just 28 sales in all during August, down 15% from July 2023. Active Listings were at 162 at month end compared to 179 at that time last year and 161 at the end of July. With a 6 month supply of total residential listings and sales success ratio of 52%, this is a balanced market.

Surrey: B.C.’s second-biggest city posted mixed results in August, with detached sales and prices flatlining from a month earlier and sales of strata units falling from July 2023. Detached sales reached 175, unchanged from a month earlier, while the benchmark price was down 0.5% month-over-month to $1,675,900. Townhouse sales fell 13%, month-to-month, to 189 transactions and the benchmark price was down 1.3% to $881,600. Condo apartment sales were down 7.6% from July at 207 units and the benchmark price was off 1% to $548,200.

Written by Kevin Skipworth for Dexter Realty

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Dexter Realty Report May 2023
Highlights
  • May average home price $200,000 higher than in January

  • May home sales-to-listing ratio a sizzling 59%

  • Total sales are the highest this year and higher than in May 2022

  • Surrey detached new listings were up 53% from April 2023

  • Overall higher listings may point to a price plateau this summer

After five months that defied most predictions and pundits, the Metro Vancouver housing market has righted itself – as we’ve been saying the last few months, while quickly shifting to a seller’s market. But the potential is there to be more balanced between buyers and sellers as we sail into the summer.

May exposed a slight tilt in that balance in favour of buyers, with sellers about to face a more competitive environment with the increase in new listings that happened in May. And depending on what happens with the Bank of Canada’s interest rate announcement on Wednesday, that could change some buyers’ ability to compete.

Back in January and before – when the headlines were full of predictions of a recession and a continued housing downturn – we urged homebuyers to jump into the market to take advantage of the dip. Since then, the average home price in Greater Vancouver has shot up by $200,000 and the sales-to-listing ratio has risen from 29% to 61% in April before settling to 59% in May, close to the hottest markets in 2021 and early 2022.

We based our forecast not only on the strength of the regional economy but on decades of experience as real estate professionals at Dexter Realty. We have seen deep downturns and heady highs before, so we understand the patterns and how quickly it can change.

While May 2023 marked the fifth straight month-over-month increase in sale and price, it also sent the first signals of a chance for a market shift.

While we are still in a seller’s market in most areas and property types, if the increase in new listings continues, this will favour buyers. And perhaps some buyers are waiting for the June 7 Bank of Canada announcement, which could affect mortgage rates.

The evidence is in the number of sales and listings in May, and when they occurred. It is all about momentum.

In May 2023 a total of 3,411 residential properties sold in Greater Vancouver, not only the highest sales of this year but the first month in 2023 that sales were higher than the same time a year earlier and the first time this trend occurred in the last few years.

The average (not benchmark) home price in May reached $1,315,617, the highest level since April 2022 and up nearly 3 per cent from May of 2022.

This would all point to a seller’s market, except that, unlike previous months this year, May sales were slightly lower in the second half of the month compared to the previous two-week period to start May. At the same time, new listings increased, rising from 2,909 at mid-month to 5,776 at month’s end, compared to 4,399 in April 2023. May tends to be the most active month of the spring market, so we could see that shift come June.

In the Fraser Valley, new listings in May, at 3,533, were 42% higher than in April (with detached listings up a startling 61%) while sales increased just 10% month-over-month to 1,711.

So, as May ended, we were seeing parallel momentums: many more listings and perhaps the peak of sales.

While the last few months have been characterized by multiple offers and increasing prices, we will now see more competition among sellers. It will take many more listings to ease the competition amongst buyers but May was a start.

With the increase in listings comes some great opportunities for buyers. Work with an experienced REALTOR® who can sniff out the right property that’s gone under the radar. This isn’t 2021 when prices went wild. There is now a sense of control, and, for some properties, buyers are not willing to compete or take on the price that sellers are asking.

Buyers must practice patience now, which is difficult after months of low inventory. We are going to see listings increase, the sales-to-listing ratio settling down and more competitive pricing offered by sellers. In short, hopefully we’ll see some balance come into the market for the first time in in three years.

Of course, all real estate markets are unique, and not all will follow the same trajectory immediately.

There were 9,293 active listings at month end, above the 8,790 at the end of April. Yet some areas had fewer active listings in May than a month earlier, so it’s important to look locally when doing direct comparisons.

Vancouver East saw a slight uptick in the sales-to-listings ratio while North Vancouver maintained its high rate at 66%. Both locations were called out by the provincial government for not doing enough to supply housing in its recently released list of the municipalities that aren’t building enough homes. Port Moody, on the heels of less sales in May compared to April, saw its absorption rate fall from 91% to 65%.

Ladner led the way in May with a 108% sales-to-listings ratio as there were more sales than new listings there. Not surprising, Delta was also cited by the province for not supplying enough homes.

Overall Greater Vancouver remains with 3-months’ supply of listings – and with the current number of sales we’d need to double the number of active listings to get into a truly balanced market, but listings are finally increasing.

Best advice to buyers: Work with your trusted REALTOR®, get pre-approved for financing, narrow your search and be ready when your agent finds that ideal property. Do your homework and keep within your budget.

Best advice to sellers: Prices have risen 1.5% per month this year, but do not expect that to be automatic. A property priced right will attract a slew of potential buyers (it is not uncommon to see 40 people through a weekend open house) but if it is priced above the market or not showhouse ready, buyers now have the option to move on to the next new listings.

 A summary of the regional markets 

Greater Vancouver: A total of 3,411 residential properties sold in May, up 24% from a month earlier and, for the first time this year, higher than in the same month in 2022, when 2,947 transactions were counted. The surge in prices surprised us all, even the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). “Back in January, few people would have predicted prices to be up as much as they are – ourselves included,” Andrew Lis, REBGV’s director of economics and data analytics said. “Our forecast projected prices to be up by about 2% at year-end. Instead, home prices are already up about 6% or more across all home types.”

As of May 23, the composite benchmark price was $1,118,000, up 1.3% from a month earlier; the detached house price was up 1.8% to $ $1,953,600. While townhouse prices remained virtually the same as in April, at just over $1 million, condo apartment prices were up 1.1% month to month to $760,800.

Active Listings were at 9,293 at month end compared to 8,790 at the end of April; new listings in May were up 31% compared to April 2023. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 59% compared to 62% in April 2022 and 45% in May 2022.

 Fraser Valley:  Total Valley sales reached 1,711 in May 2023, up 25% from May 2022 and 10% higher than in April 2023. With new listings up 42% from April, there were total active listings of 5,588 at the end of May, 20% higher than a month before. The benchmark composite home price in May was $961,702, up 6.7% from April 2023 and 3% higher than in May 2022.

Vancouver Westside: Metro’s bellwether housing market saw 624 sales in May, up 33% from a month earlier and 7% higher than in May 2022. The May 2023 benchmark detached house price has increased 5.7% (or $193,000) in the past six months and took another 0.5% step up from April to $3,338,800. Townhouses sold for $1,457,500, down 3% from April, and condo apartments sold in May 2023 at a benchmark of $849,800, up 4.8% over the last three months. Active listings were 2,115 at month end compared to 2,460 at that time last year and 1,992 at the end of April, but new listings in May were up 40% compared to April 2023. With a 3-month supply of total residential listings, the sales-to- listings ratio is a healthy 53% compared to 56% in April 2023 and 46% in May 2022.

Vancouver East Side: Vancouver is one of the cities named as needing to increase new home starts and it is easy to understand, since East Vancouver, like the Westside, also has just a 3-month supply and a sales-to-listing ratio above 50%. The problem is new homes are more expensive, largely because of government fees and taxes, which have increased sharply. A recent study showed a typical new $840,000 condo apartment in Vancouver includes $327,565 in government costs. An Eastside resale condo had a benchmark price of $707,000 in May, up 1.9% from a month earlier, while townhouses were at $1,109,100, the same as in April, and detached houses sold in May for at a benchmark of $1,822,700, up 2.5% from a month before. Total May sales were 360, up 35% from a month earlier and 13% higher than in May 2022. Active Listings were at 1,006 at month end compared to 1,173 at that time last year and 939 at the end of April. This is a full-on seller’s market.

North Vancouver: Total housing sales in May were 288, up 32% from a month earlier and 3% above May 2022. The composite benchmark home price is $1,397,500, up 5.5% from six months ago and 1.8% higher than in April 2023. While new listings increased 32% from April, total active listings were 514 at the end of May, representing just a 2-months’ supply of housing, with townhouses down to a 1-month inventory. The sales-to-listing ratio has held steady at 66% for two months. The benchmark price for a detached house is now just 4% below May 2022, and, at $2,269.400, the highest level this year.

West Vancouver: The benchmark price of a detached house in West Vancouver in May was nearly unchanged from six months ago, at $3,111,600. Total housing sales, mostly detached houses, were 80 in May, up 16% from April 2023 and 16% higher than in May 2022. With 529 total active listings, there is a 7-month supply in a balanced market where the sales-to-listing ratio is 35%.

Richmond: Two large strata projects in Richmond totaling 1,200 units have been cancelled, the latest the 400-condo Minora Square on May 26, where pre-sale buyer deposits are being refunded. Perhaps a resale condo is a safer bet, since Richmond has also raised new condo development cost charges to around $25 per square foot. In May, a total of 396 homes sold in Richmond, leaving a total inventory of 1,043 properties (a drop from 1,602 at the end of April), or about a 3-month supply, with a 61% sales-to-listing ratio. Prices are rising sharply. The benchmark detached house price is up 7.7% since December 2022, at $2,189,600; and the benchmark condo price in the same period is up 9.6% to $747,00. Townhouse prices are 0.2% higher than a year ago, at $1,119,900.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East saw 39 home sales in May, up from both April 2023 and May 2022 and it now has 90 active listings. With a sales ratio of 57%, the benchmark home price is up 4% since the start of the year, at $1,159,600. This is a seller’s market with just a 2-month supply of homes on the market.

Burnaby North: Burnaby has the most new housing in the works across the region, with a total of 10,630 new strata units envisioned in four massive projects from Brentwood to the Edmonds area, according to an open house May 30 at Burnaby City Hall. All four sites require rezoning. However, Burnaby also wants to increase development fees to help cover the cost of an extended array of infrastructure, including firehalls, RCMP police stations, homeless shelters and “composting and organic processing facilities,” which will add to new strata prices. The new homes are needed. Burnaby North has just a 2-month supply of active listings and they are selling at a pace of 63% per month. The benchmark condo price is now $805,800 and townhouses sell for $902,200, both up about 6% from the first of this year.

Burnaby South: Total units sold in May were 233, up 8% from a month earlier and 43% higher than in May 2022. The benchmark composite home price is up 5.5% since January 1, at $1,112,300; and detached house prices are up 8% in the same period to $2,177,100, the highest in Burnaby. New listings in May were up 20% compared to April 2023 but down 7% compared to May 2022. The supply of total residential listings, at 404, is steady at a 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) with a sales-to-listings ratio of 73%.

New Westminster: The benchmark price for a detached house in the Royal City was $1,525,800 in May, up 5% from the start of 2023, but the overall composite price remains among the lowest in Metro, at $827,600. A total of 142 residential properties sold in May, 26% higher than a month earlier and up 27% from May 2022.  Active Listings were at 258 at month end compared to 313 at that time last year and 238 at the end of April. This is about a 2-month supply as the sales-to-new-listing ratio has been running at 70% in both May and April.

Coquitlam: Total May sales reached 284, up 35% from April 2023 and 16% higher compared to May 2022. Active Listings were at 555 at month end compared to 642 at that time last year and 495 at the end of April; new listings in May were up 38% compared to April 2023, perhaps because sellers see what is happening. The benchmark home price has increased 4.7% so far this year to $1,114,900 and the sales-to-listing ratio has been over 60% for four months. This is a strong seller’s market.

Port Moody: This Tri-City community has a history of slow development, and it is on the list of cities where the province wants to see more housing starts. Port Moody now charges $33,453 per detached or duplex lot in development fees and tacks from $11 to $14 per square onto new strata units, so that will add to new home prices. Right now there is just a 2-month supply with only 184 active listings. Benchmark home prices are still 9% below May 2022, at $1,112,300. The sales to listing ratio, though, was 65% in May and 91% in April, so supply could disappear quickly.

Port Coquitlam: Total units sold in May were 91, up from 76 in April 2023 and the very same at in May 2022, but the composite benchmark home price is down 6.9% year-over-year, at $951,800. Detached houses were benchmarked in May at $1,392,100, up 8.5% from January 1, but still 8% lower than a year ago. While new listings in May were up 89% from April 2023, there are only 153 active listings, enough to last about two months, with a sales-to-listing ratio running at 62%.

Pitt Meadows: Just 30 homes sold in May, but that was 44% better than April 2023 and higher than the 28 sales in May 2022. Detached home prices, while lower than last year, have soared 10% from the start of this year to a 2023 high of $1,274,800 in May. Active Listings were at 71 at month end compared to 84 at that time last year and at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 17% compared to April 2023 and the hot sales-to-listings ratio of 86% shows the current supply may not last long.

Maple Ridge: With 218 sales in May, total transactions were up 35% from a month earlier and 23% higher than in May 2022. The benchmark detached house price has increased 7.6% over the past three months to $1,261,700, with townhouse prices up to $768,100 after a 2.4% increase from a month earlier. The post-COVID slump in Maple Ridge appears over, with a sales-to-listing ratio in May of 63% and 62% in April in what has become a seller’s market with 539 active listings available.

Ladner: Delta is another of the Metro region cities called out by the province for not building enough new homes. Ladner, for example, only has 85 active listings (down from 100 at the end of April) and the May sales-to-new-listing ratio was 108% and new listings were down 14% from April 2023, while sales increased 26% to 54 transactions. The benchmark home price in Ladner is up 7.2% since the start of the year, at $1,144,200. There were more strata sales than new listings in May, which saw townhouse benchmark prices rise 10.4% so far this year to $973,800. Condo benchmark prices are at $704,800 in May, up less than 2% since January, however.

Tsawwassen: Total units sold in May were 62 up 15% compared to April 2023, up 44% higher than in May 2022. Active listings were steady at 166 at month end compared to 165 at that time last year and 167 at the end of April; New Listings in May were up 23% compared to April 2023. Total residential listings are at a 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and the sales to listings ratio of 68% compares to 73% in April 2023. The benchmark home price in May was $1,221,900, up 5.6% from the first of this year but nearly 9% below the price in May 2022. Townhouse sales are particularly slow and the benchmark price of a townhouse, at $1,005,700 in May, has barely budged in two months.

Surrey: B.C.’s second-biggest city saw 855 total sales in May, almost evenly divided among detached, townhouse and condo properties, but there the similarity ends. Detached sales, at 284, were up 44% from a year earlier and 11.4% from April 2023. The average detached price was $1,784,000 in May, up 8% from a month earlier. There were 246 townhouse sales, up 8% from a year earlier and 14% higher than a month earlier, while the average townhouse price was up just 0.3% from April 2023 to $878,396. Condo apartment sales, at 225, were up 1.8% year to year, and 1% month to month, while the average price was up 3.3% from last year and 6.6% from April 2023, at $560,180.

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Dexter Realty Market Report April 2023
Highlights of the April Market Report
  • We are now in a seller’s market across Greater Vancouver
  • Multiple offers are being seen as buyers roar back
  • Buyers must brace for higher new home prices in ‘24
  • Greater Vancouver sales are up 166% since the start of the year
  • Fraser Valley detached house prices are up $60,000 since January

As much of Canada suffers under a belief that the housing market has tanked, Metro Vancouver homebuyers are quietly and efficiently setting month-over-month sale increases this year and are already being rewarded by rising prices.

Consider this a wake-up call.

Total April housing sales across Greater Vancouver hit 2,741 transactions, up from 2,535 in March and a 166% increase from January 2023 and the highest monthly level since May 2022. Benchmark home prices so far this year are up 5%. Based on the current benchmark, that is an increase of nearly $60,000, and prices are still rising by 2.4% a month.

In the Fraser Valley, April sales totalled 1,554 homes, even with a month earlier and up 148% from January of this year. The benchmark detached house price is up $100,000 compared to January and the typical condo sold in April at $503,700, up $30,000 from the start of the year.

This was not foreseen by most; and in April, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the federal housing agency, told us that the Metro Vancouver average home price could fall as much as 24 percent this year and it didn’t see a sales recovery until 2024-25.
On the street, the reality is much different. With the Bank of Canada halting rate increases, buyers are more confident and are back in a big way. The April competition for new listings was astounding: over 20 offers for a detached house in Ladner; 10 to 20 offers for condos throughout the region, including downtown Vancouver among the many anecdotal reports from the field. With a consistent shortage, any townhouse listing attracted multiple buyers, and the sales-to-listing ratio hit a jaw-dropping 185% in April for Port Moody townhouses.

The real estate market has turned quickly and is fast approaching 3,000 sales a month. If this happens in May, as we suspect, it would be the first time since April last year that Greater Vancouver has achieved that number.

Another signal of the turnaround is new housing starts, which have roared back and may help to alleviate the continued lack of new resale listings. In the first quarter of 2023, 7,318 new homes started in Metro Vancouver, up 69% from the same period last year. The current residential construction pace, if maintained, would result in more than 29,000 starts this year in Metro Vancouver, the highest level in three years. But this will take time to have any effect on the market and will require many more starts.

A big test of the new condo market is now being conducted on the Burnaby-Coquitlam border this month where a brand-new condo tower complex is finished and offered for sale. Normally, new condos are sold as pre-sales, but these 262 apartments at the City of Lougheed are move-in ready. This is a bold and rare test of the condo market and should give a strong indication of current demand. We would not be surprised by a quick sell-out.

However, we are less certain that buyers will be flocking to purchase new homes in 2024 because of startling government-imposed cost increases. Costs keep getting added to the equation and for some developments, it may not be feasible to move from the planning to the building stage.
Here are some of the recent increases homebuilders are now dealing with:

  • On April 19, the Metro Vancouver Regional District board of directors approved a motion to make real estate developers pay 99% of the cost for water and sewage upgrades across the district. Currently, developers pay 83% for sewage upgrades and 50% for water infrastructure, so this is a big increase, especially since three large water-treatment projects are currently underway, totalling well over $10 billion.
  • Led by a 47% increase in Richmond and a 33% hike in Coquitlam, suburban municipalities across the region are raising development cost charges on new residential construction going into next year.
  • On May 1, the B.C. Step Code building code for new residential construction was legislated across the province. This ‘green’ building code, the most rigid in Canada, will outlaw natural gas in new buildings and add thousand, even tens of thousands of dollars, to the cost of new homes, especially detached houses, and high-rise concrete condos.
  • Changes to B.C.’s contaminated land regulations, just coming in, will add an extra $80,000 to $100,000 in testing alone, and delays to a new strata project before construction even starts
  • Residential land prices – and the cost per buildable foot – are soaring right across the Lower Mainland. Recently, residential sites in North Burnaby and Surrey Central sold for more than $25 million per acre; a 1.3-acre land assembly in Coquitlam sold in March for $24.5 million; and Vancouver is seeing residential development land trading at $90 million per acre or more.

Best advice: buy an existing home this year, and the sooner the better. Existing homes can’t be replaced for nearly the same price, and resale values are increasing month-over-month.

A look at the regional numbers:

Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in April were 2,741, up 8% from a month earlier and 166% higher than in January of this year and off just 16% from April 2022. By next month, the script will shift as sales begin to be higher compared to a year ago. For true market comparison, April sales this year were 48% higher than in April 2019 before the pandemic hit and everything went crazy. However, listings are the laggard, down 1% this April from a month earlier; and total active listings, at 8,734, represent just a 3-month supply at the current sales pace. The inventory shortfall is leading to multiple offers and rising prices, with April’s benchmark price up 2.4% from a month earlier; detached house prices and condo prices are 3% higher at $1,915,800 and $752,300, respectively. With 500 sales in April, and a high sales-to-listing ratio, townhouse prices were up 2.1% from March to $1,078,400. Greater Vancouver is now a sellers’ market in all property types, with an overall sales-to-listing ratio of 62%.

Fraser Valley: The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board posted 1,554 sales in April, virtually unchanged compared to March 2023 and up 5.1% from April 2022. Listings were down 31% from April 2022 however, to 2,478. There are now 4,632 active listings, down 2.2% from March 2023 and 14% below April of last year. Prices are rising as buyers bid on fewer listings. Detached-house prices, at $1,442,900, were up nearly 4% from March 2023; townhomes increased 1.7% month-over-month to $808,000; and the benchmark condo price was up 1.6% in the same period to $530,200. Strata prices are down from 9% to 13% from a year ago, with detached prices off 17% from April 2022.

Vancouver Westside: 
The Westside saw condos in a seller’s market in April, while townhouses jumped up to 7 month’s supply and the detached-house sector is still in balance. But new listings were 9% lower overall in April compared to March, so buyers are purchasing what they can. In all, 468 sales were recorded in April, nearly 50% higher than in February and up 4% from March 2023.  Prices are rising fast: the benchmark detached house price is now $3,313,200, up 9.7% (about $310,000) since January and up 3% from March. Townhouse prices shot up 6.5%, month-over-month to $1,481,900 and typical apartments sold for $848,000 in April, an increase of 2.5% from March.  The supply of total residential listings is steady at a tight 4-months in this seller’s market. April’s sales-to-listings ratio of 56% compared to 49% in March 2023 and 48% in April 2022.

Vancouver East Side: Compared to a year ago, East Side sales and listings were down sharply from a year ago, but sales were also lower than in March 2023, with 267 transactions in April compared to 287 a month earlier. There were 939 active listings as of April 30, up from 899 at the end of March. The total inventory represents a 4-months’ supply as the sales-to-listing ratio is a strong 55% in this seller’s market.  The median price of the 75 houses sold in April was $1.95 million, up nearly $150,000 from a month earlier. Condos led the sales parade, with 113 sales at a median of $657,000, up marginally from March, while median townhouse prices increased to $1,405,000, up about $50,000 from April of last year. Over the past three months, the overall benchmark price is 5.4% higher, at $1,312,400.

North Vancouver: April sales continued a trajectory that has seen transactions rise 46% over the past two months to reach 218. Benchmark home prices have followed the lead, rising 7% since January to $1,369,900 in April, with detached house prices up nearly 8% in the same period to $2,192,200. Despite new listings falling 10% from March, total active listings at the end of April were 495, nearly identical to a year earlier. We estimate there is a mere 2-month supply of total listings, with the sales-to-listing ratio running at 66%, up from 58% from both a month and a year earlier. This is a seller’s market that is gaining momentum.

West Vancouver: Metro’s second-most expensive housing market is not known for a high number of sales and April was no exception, with 60 transactions, down 6% from a month earlier, though 43% higher than in February. New listings, though, were 94% higher than a year ago, so the market is stirring. We are calling this a balanced market, but shifting to a buyer’s advantage for those who can afford it. The benchmark price of a detached house, which dominated the market with 43 sales in April, is $3,111,600, up 3% from March, but still 8% lower than a year ago. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is 38% and has held steady in that range for two months.

Richmond: The ban on foreign homebuyers that came into effect on January 1 apparently had zero effect in Richmond, despite some concerns. Sales are following similar patterns to other markets, with 338 transactions in April up 51% from February and well above January. Prices are also firming in Richmond: the benchmark price is $1,179,200, down just 1.7% from a year ago and rising an average of 2% per month since the start of the year. Active listings were at 1,062 at month-end compared to 1,197 at that time last year and 1,049 at the end of March. This is a seller’s market, with the sales-to-listing ratio in April at 67%, which compares to some of the best months of early 2022, and there is just 3-months’ supply of inventory. Housing starts are rising, however, with 507 new homes breaking ground in March, up from just 62 in March 2022 – nearly all the new starts are multi-family units, including 37 new townhouses. So many more townhouses are needed.

Burnaby East: Total sales in April were just 34, but that was up 70% from a month earlier and just 6 units lower than in April of last year. The benchmark price rose 0.4% from March, to $1,114,900, while the detached house price increased 1.3% to $1,749,700, still the lowest in Burnaby.  Active listings were 76 at month-end compared to 67 at that time last year and 85 at the end of March. The inventory of total residential listings is down to 2-month supply. This is a seller’s market on steroids, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 81% compared to 43% in March 2023 and 58% in April 2022.

Burnaby North: This is one of the hot markets where total sales in April, at 176, were higher than in April 2022, in this case, up 7 percent year over year and 4% higher than in March 2023, and 31% above February of this year. Condos led this market, and the benchmark condo price has increased 5.5% over the past three months to $734,600. Confidence in the future strata market was underlined in April when a major condo developer paid $94 million for a 4.2-acre development site near the Brentwood and Gilmour SkyTrain station. There was a total of 415 residential properties for sale at the end of April, slightly higher than a year earlier and up from 388 in March. The benchmark home price is up 5% since January, at $1,002,900.

With a sales success ratio of 67%, compared to 71% in March 2023 and 47% in April 2022, this is a strong seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Sales here were also up from a year ago, rising 16% to 215 this April, which was also 65% higher than in March 2023. At $1,100,200, the benchmark price in April was up 2.3% from a month earlier. The benchmark detached house price has surged nearly 8% higher since January, to $2,145,800. In an unabashed sellers’ market, the sales-to-listing ratio is a sizzling 81% and the total inventory, at 385, represents just a 2-month supply.

New Westminster: Total April sales were 113, up from 96 (18%) in March 2023 but down from 134 (16%) in April 2022. We see the Royal City as a good buy this year. The benchmark detached house price in April was $1,433,100, up just 0.2% from a month earlier and down 4.3% from a year earlier. But this house price is about $300,000 less than Coquitlam or East Burnaby. New West condo prices, at $652,100, are also among the lowest in the suburbs. We have a feeling New Westminster has price growth potential. Total active listings are 238, down from last April but up 15% from March 2023. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 70%, this is a seller’s market, but buyers may find the prices tempting.

Coquitlam: Many will be watching a rare event when two new condo towers, finished, launch more than 200 units into the market in May. The towers are technically in Burnaby but right on the Coquitlam border at Lougheed Town Centre. In April, 99 Coquitlam condo apartments sold at a median price of $685,000 and there were just 149 new listings, generating a healthy 67% sales-to-listing ratio. Total active listings of all properties were at 495 at the end of April, compared to 572 at that time last year and 473 at the end of March.

This is a seller’s market that appears to be accelerating.

Port Moody: The entire Tri-Cities region has seen only 74 housing starts so far this year, so we must look to resale listings for future supply, and that means a tight inventory due to high demand in Port Moody. Port Moody might be the hottest market in Greater Vancouver, with a 91% absorption rate overall, sitting with 2-month supply. Townhouses saw a jaw-dropping 185% absorption rate, meaning almost two sales for every new listing. Condo sales were up 73% year-over-year in Port Moody as condo prices dipped to a median of $685,000, down from a median of $712,500 a year earlier. Total sales in April were 91, up 14% in March and 94% higher than in February in this active seller’s market.

Port Coquitlam: With 76 sales in April, transactions were up 10% from a month earlier, but new listings dropped 39% month-over-month while the composite home price inched up 1.2% to $927,100, the lowest in the Tri-Cities. Detached house prices are now 13.3% below April of last year but are rising by around 2.2% per month. With only a 2-month supply of listings and a sales-to-listing ratio at 97%, compared to 54% a month earlier, this is a clear seller’s market.

Ladner: There is only 1 month’s supply of townhouses and condos, with only 7 condo new listings in April compared to 19 in March in Ladner. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is 74%.
Townhouse benchmark prices dipped 0.7% in April from a month earlier, but remain 7% higher than in January, at $991,700. Condos are selling at $698,000, but prices were down 2% in April from March 2023. With just a 2-month supply of listings and a sales ratio of 74%, we expect prices to increase in this seller’s market.

Tsawwassen: Sunny Tsawwassen has an example of what is known as an intergenerational community, the Southlands development, which took years to win approval but could be a template for future suburban projects. Its mix of housing is designed to attract seniors and young families with an agricultural theme and a lively retail village that includes a beachfront. It is among the reasons Tsawwassen is seeing higher sales now than a year ago and where total home sales have more than doubled since February. The townhouse’s benchmark prices are $901,600, lower than in neighbouring Ladner. Detached-house prices in April were up 7.2% from a month earlier, at $1,473,200, but remain 14% lower than a year ago. Condo apartments, at $724,900, are nearly unchanged from last year. A total of 54 properties were sold and there are only 167 on the market. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 73%, the highest for an April in years, this is a sellers’ market with very low inventory.

Pitt Meadows: Total sales have been declining for more than a year and April was no exception with just 27 transactions, down 4% from a month earlier and 40% lower than in April 2022. Detached house prices remain 17% lower than a year ago but have rallied so far this year, up 7% to an April benchmark of $1,220,900.  New listings in April were up 26% compared to March 2023, bringing the overall supply to about 3 months. With a sales-to-listings ratio of 50%, compared to 65% in March 2023, this is a weak seller’s market that could be balanced.

Maple Ridge: Young families looking for a townhouse are often drawn to Maple Ridge, where there is a fairly good selection and benchmark prices are down 15% from April 2022, to $747,200. This is about $200,000 below the Lower Mainland benchmark. Townhouse prices are inching up, though, increasing about 6% so far this year. Total property sales in April reached 161 in April, 8% higher than in March and just 3% below April 2022. This seller’s market is firming, with new listings in April down 7% from a month earlier, a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 62% and just 506 homes on the market.

Surrey: The Fraser Valley’s largest market saw just 255 detached sales, 216 townhouse transactions and 227 condo sales in April, with detached and condo sales up 4% from March and townhouse sales down 3%. Detached house prices were up 3.8% month over month, but down 16% from a year earlier, at $1,579,100. The lowest strata benchmark prices are in North Surrey, with townhouses at $749,700 and condo apartments at $497,800.

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