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Metro Vancouver was resilient and finished 2023 in balance: REBGV

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While the Metro Vancouver housing market ended 2023 with some resilience and balance, this was among the backdrop of decade-high borrowing costs.

“You could miss it by just looking at the year-end totals, but 2023 was a strong year for the Metro Vancouver housing market considering that mortgage rates were the highest they’ve been in over a decade,” Andrew Lis, REBGV’s director of economics and data analytics notes.

“Ultimately, the story of  2023 is one of too few homes available relative to the pool of willing and qualified buyers,” Lis says. “Sellers were reluctant to list their properties early in the year, which led to fewer sales than usual coming out of the gate. But this also led to near record-low inventory levels in the spring, which put upward pressure on prices as buyers competed for the scarce few homes available.”  


2023 sales


As reported by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the region saw 26,249 sales last year, which was 10.3 per cent less than 2022’s sales of 29,261 and 41.5 per cent less than 2021’s 44,884 sales. Last year’s sales were also 23.4 per cent under the 10-year annual sales average of 34,272.


2023 listings


Metro Vancouver MLS listings totalled 50,893 last year. This is 7.5 per cent less than the 55,047 properties listed in 2022 and 20.2 per cent below 2021’s 63,761 listed properties. Last year’s listings were also 10.5 per cent under the region’s 10-year total annual average of 56,868.


December sales


Residential sales in Metro Vancouver totalled 1,345 in December 2023, which is 3.2 per cent more than the 1,303 sales December 2022 and 36.4 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average of 2,114.


Benchmark price


Metro Vancouver’s benchmark price for all residential properties sits at $1,168,700, which is five per cent more than it was in December 2022 and 1.4 per cent less than in November 2023.


December listings


In December, the total number of Metro Vancouver properties listed for sale on MLS was 8,802, 13 per cent more than December 2022’s 7,791 listings and 0.3 per cent more than the 10-year seasonal average of 8,772.

There were 1,327 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on Metro Vancouver’s MLS last month, 9.9 per cent over the 1,208 properties listed the year prior and 22.7 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average of 1,716.

Across all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for December was 16 per cent (11.1 per cent for detached homes, 18.7 per cent for attached homes and 19.6 per cent for apartments).


“Looking back on the year, it’s hard not to wonder how we’d be closing out 2023 if mortgage rates had been a few per cent lower than they were,” Lis notes. “And it looks like we might get some insight into that question in 2024, as bond markets and professional forecasters are projecting lower borrowing costs are likely to come, with modest rate cuts expected in the first half of the new year.” 


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