Home buyers lucky with rich pickings – Average selling time in May was 48 days

Friday, June 15th, 2012

Elizabeth Wilson
Van. Courier

Get out those slip-on shoes.

In the first weekend of June, there were 700 open houses on Vancouver’s West Side and 500 on the East Side. Rich pickings for buyers and lookie-loos. From sellers, the cry goes out: “Well what day CAN the staging people get here, then?”

. Sales and Listings The open house numbers certainly reflect the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s May statistics, which show new listings on the MLS up 14.4 per cent over April and 16.8 per cent over May 2011. New listings in Greater Vancouver were 15.3 per cent above the 10-year average.

In all, there were 17,835 homes listed for sale in the region’s MLS. It took 43 days on average to sell a home in May, which is eight days longer than it took last year at the same time. Meanwhile, buyers seem to be waiting for the other slip-on shoe to drop.

Overall sales were 21.1 per cent below the 10-year average for May, the lowest total since 2001. Detached house sales looked to be hardest hit at first glance. They declined by almost one-quarter (24.8 per cent) from May 2011-but then, detached house sales last May were more frenzied than usual. Compared to May 2010, a more normal year, sales were only down by 6.1 per cent.

And sales of detached homes and townhouses actually improved over April, while apartment sales fell just 2.9 per cent compared to the previous month.

May sales of all housing types increased in North Vancouver, New Westminster and Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows over April. And Port Moody also had substantially more sales of detached and townhouse properties compared to April. Maybe home buyers are finding attractive communities that are lower-priced alternatives to the neighbourhoods where prices have been driven sky-high.

. Benchmark Price (MLS Home Price Index)

We’re still in a balanced market, says REBGV president Eugen Klein.

“Our sales-to-active-listings ratio sits at 16 per cent…. As a result of this stability, home prices at the regional level have seen little fluctuation over the last six months.”

(This month’s benchmark prices look like they’ve experienced more change than they actually have. That’s because of a re-calculation of the benchmark price to better reflect the trends measured by the MLS Home Price Index. You can find out more at homepriceindex.ca.)

The recent TD Economics report, “Toronto and Vancouver: The Housing Markets that Have All Eyes Watching,” agrees that Greater Vancouver benchmark prices are stable, although the rate of growth has slowed.

It predicts a price correction of around 15 per cent over the next two-to-three years, particularly in the condo market. But it doesn’t see any immediate triggers for that correction-to-come.

In short, if you’re buying, you’re still going to have to pay more than anybody else in Canada for a detached house, townhouse or condo. Sorry.

And if you’re a seller hoping to make a bundle and buy somewhere less expensive, you’ll have lots of competition from people with exactly the same idea.

REW.ca is a real estate search website for Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

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