Home sales in Greater Vancouver return to near-record levels in May

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Stephanie Ip
The Vancouver Sun

Avocado toast be damned. Home sales bounced back to nearly record levels across the Greater Vancouver area in May, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s latest numbers.

Residential home sales hit 4,364 last month, just 8.5 per cent down from May 2016, which saw an all-time record 4,769 homes sold. It was also an increase of 22.8 per cent over April 2017, when 3,553 homes sold.

The numbers shared Friday note that May 2017 was 23.7 per cent above the 10-year May sales average and is the third-highest selling May on record.

Part of the boost is due to first-time buyers and downsizing families competing for the same type of housing, according to REBGV president Jill Oudil, 

“Demand for condominiums and townhomes is driving today’s activity,” said Oudil.

Which means buyers looking for a detached home will soon have more options to pick from and less competition to out-bid, but anyone searching for a condo will have to hunt.

The number of listings also point toward a rebound. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties across Metro Vancouver numbered 6,044 in May, a 3.9 per cent decrease from the same month last year, but a 23.2 per cent increase compared to April 2017.

The sales-to-active listings ratio — that is, the rate at which properties are selling — across all residential categories is 53.4 per cent; detached homes are at 31 per cent. Analysts note that prices tend to go down when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period. Any percentage over 20 for several months will result in prices going up.

The ratio for condos is currently at 94.6 per cent, while the ratio for townhomes is 76.1 per cent.

“While sales are inching closer to the record-breaking pace of 2016, the market itself looks different. Sales last year were driven by demand for single-family homes,” said Oudil.

“This year, it’s clear that townhomes and condominiums are leading the way.”

There are currently 8,168 properties listed for sale on the MLS system across the region, a 5.7 per cent increase over the same time last year and a 4.5 per cent increase compared to April 2017.

The current composite benchmark price for a residential home in Metro Vancouver is $967,500, an 8.8 per cent increase over May 2016 and 2.8 per cent increase over April 2017.

Last month, Australian businessman Tom Gurner blamed millennials’ inability to purchase homes on their apparent love of expensive avocado toast.

The backlash was swift, with many quickly crunching the numbers to show that no matter how much avocado toast is given up, home prices remain far out of reach for many.

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