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Prospective sellers continue to hold back in Metro Vancouver

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Metro Vancouver’s real estate market continues to experience sluggish sales activity due to a lack of inventory, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The board’s February listing data shows that residential home sales in the region amounted to 1,808, down 47.2 per cent from the same period last year. Sales were also 33 per cent below the 10-year February sales average.

However, sales increased by 76.9 per cent month-over-month from January, suggesting a modest improvement in the market.


Inventory levels rising slowly


Despite the sluggish sales activity, the number of available homes for sale in the region continues to inch upwards, with 7,868 homes currently listed for sale on MLS.

This represents a 16.7 per cent increase compared to February 2022 and a 5.2 per cent increase compared to January 2023. The total number of homes newly listed for sale in February 2023 was 3,467, a 36.6 per cent decrease year-over-year.

“It’s hard to sell what you don’t have, and with new listing activity remaining among the lowest in recent history, sales are struggling to hit typical levels for this point in the year,” said Andrew Lis, REBGV’s director, economics and data analytics.

“On the plus side for prospective buyers, the below-average sales activity is allowing inventory to accumulate, which is keeping market conditions from straying too deeply into sellers’ market territory, particularly in the more affordably priced segments.”


Modest price increases incoming?


Lis notes that while current data and market activity suggest that home price trends will show year-over-year declines for a few more months, pricing is firming up.

“In fact, some leading indicators suggest we may see modest price increases this spring, particularly if sales activity increases and mortgage rates hold steady,” Lis said.

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for February 2023 is 23 per cent.

By property type, the ratio is 16.8 per cent for detached homes, 30.1 per cent for townhomes, and 25.8 per cent for apartments.

According to REBGV, analysts generally say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.


Prices up month-over-month


The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,123,400. This represents a 9.3 per cent decrease year-over-year and a 1.1 per cent increase month-over-month.

The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,813,100, representing a 12 per cent decrease from February 2022 and a 0.7 per cent increase compared to January 2023.

The benchmark price of an apartment is $732,200, representing a three per cent decrease from February 2022 and a 1.6 per cent increase compared to January 2023.

The benchmark price of an attached unit is $1,038,500, representing a 6.3 per cent decrease from February 2022 and a 1.8 per cent increase compared to January 2023.

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