Buyer Demand Remains Strong While Home Listings Increase

Greater Vancouver home sales remained strong last month, with the second highest number of residential sales ever recorded for the month of September.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 3,559 in September 2009, an increase of 3.4 per cent from the 3,441 sales recorded in August 2009, and an increase of 124.5 per cent compared to September 2008 when 1,585 sales were recorded.


“As homes sales in Greater Vancouver continued at an elevated pace in September it’s encouraging to see that more homes were listed on the MLS® in the month than any other so far this year,” Scott Russell, REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,764 in September 2009. This represents a 6.2 per cent decline compared to September 2008 when 6,142 new units were listed, but a 26.8 per cent increase compared to August 2009 when 4,544 properties were listed on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver.
At 12,596, the total number of property listings on the MLS® increased 5.5 per cent in September compared to last month and declined 36 per cent from the 19,852 homes listed for sale during the buyer’s market that was experienced at this time last year.


“During this period of renewed demand in our marketplace, home values have gradually recovered from the declines that occurred in 2008,” said Russell.

Since the beginning of the year, the MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver has increased 13 per cent to $547,092 from $484,211, while home prices compared to Septembers 2008 levels are up 1.6 per cent.

Sales of detached properties increased 160.6 per cent to 1,423 from the 546 detached sales recorded during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties increased 2.1 per cent from September 2008 to $741,632.
Sales of apartment properties in September 2009 increased 94.9 per cent to 1,489, compared to 764 sales in September 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.5 per cent from September 2008 to $374,686.
Attached property sales in September 2009 are up 135.3 per cent to 647, compared with the 275 sales in September 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 0.4 per cent between Septembers 2008 and 2009 to $466,276.

There are 3 Kinds of Lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics  
Mark Twain
Over the past 6 months, the public has been inundated with sensationalist information in the media that has contributed to our current housing slowdown. Just like in the run-up in housing prices through the 2000s, the media has been a large contributor to a market psychology that is decoupled from market fundamentals. The difference being that the story is now negative.
Below are the 3 most commonly MISUSED STATISTICS in the media:

1) Housing Starts Drop 70%!

This shouldn't really matter to buyers or sellers out there. Sure, this is related to the Real Estate market, but really, we're already overbuilt and it only makes sense for developers to stop when prices are no longer escalating.
Remember, these are CONSTRUCTION figures. Not sales or pricing figures. Unless you're a construction worker or materials supplier, this type of information is largely irrelevant to your real estate decision-making process.
This kind of information is important for buyers and sellers to know and also helpful for realtors to use. Gone are the days when a realtor could put up a sign and sell it $20,000 over list price in 12 hours. Back then, product was king and realtors spent most of their time trying to convince sellers to list with them. Now, with more product available and time-on-market figures increasing, the market is more balanced.
That said, a drop in sales has no bearing on price. Remember, these are UNIT SALE figures, not price figures. As an example, in December, the number of home sales dropped off in Kelowna; however, the average home sale price increased.
3) Average House Prices Expected to Drop 11% in 2009!
This is the most damaging type of media reports that come out. Yes, it is technically true that Average Canadian Home Prices in 2009 will likely show an 11% drop from the Average Price in 2008; however, it does not take into account the fact that the market already turned in the middle of 2008, with the average price falling drastically since then. Also, the number of units sold in a given period has a huge effect on how averages are calculated.
A simple example:
2008 Jan - June > 100 Units Sell at $200,000 Average
2008 July - Dec > 50 Units Sell at $170,000 Average
What is the Average for 2008? $190,000
Of course, at the beginning of the year in January 2009, prices are ALREADY at the December 2008 figure of $170,000, or 11% BELOW the 2008 Average of $190,000. In this example, the slowdown began in the middle of 2008.
So even though the average price in 2009 is expected to be 11% below the average price in 2008, the January price already reflects this difference and a further drop in prices is not expected. Using these predictive models, we can see how average prices over the year can really skew the figures.

Property Sales Strengthen in Current Market Cycle

A news release from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
VANCOUVER, B.C. - April 2, 2009.
The Metro Vancouver housing market experienced a movement away from volatility and toward stability to start the spring season.


Home sales in March 2009 returned to levels witnessed at the beginning of the decade, with 2,265 sales recorded across Metro Vancouver for the month, a 53 per cent increase over February but a 24.4 per cent decrease over March 2008, when 2,997 sales were recorded.


Since 1999, March sales have increased 31 per cent, on average, over the month of February. March 2009 marks the second consecutive month that sales have outperformed the ten-year average for this

month-over-month comparison.

"There’s more confidence in the housing market today than we were seeing late last year. Sales activity is rising to more typical levels given the season, and the number of homes being listed for sale is
levelling off," said Scott Russell, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).
New residential listings on the MLS® declined 22 per cent in March 2009 to 4,385 compared to

March 2008. This is the fifth month in a row that new listings have decreased year-over-year and the third consecutive month where those declines exceeded 20 per cent. Despite these trends, total active listings at the end of March 2009 had still reached 14,579, a 19 per cent increase compared to the end of March 2008.

"REALTORS® are seeing an increasing level of interest from first-time buyers who are attracted to

low interest rates, good supply of housing, greater affordability, and a considerably lower overall cost of servicing a mortgage compared to recent years," Russell said.


Sales of detached properties in March 2009 declined 19.6 per cent to 897 from the 1,116 units sold during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties declined 15.1 per cent from March 2008 to $649,342.

Sales of apartment properties declined 28.8 per cent last month to 976, compared to the 1,370 sales in March 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 13.5 per cent from March 2008 to $337,099.
Attached property sales in March 2009 decreased 23.3 per cent to 392, compared with the 511 sales during the same month in 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 11.2 per cent between March 2008 and 2009 to $420,563.
To see the news release in its entirety, including graphs and charts, go to
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is an association representing more than 9,400 REALTORS®. The Real Estate Board provides a variety of membership services, including the Multiple Listing Service®. For more information on real estate, statistics and buying or selling a home contact a local REALTOR® or visit

According to the most recent Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s statistics, house prices have only dropped 12% from December last year. The average December 2008 sale price for a resale house in the east side is listed at $589,264.00, down from $672,056.00 last year. On the west side, the average price has risen slightly by 3%, up to $1,591,048.00 from $1,540,955.00 last year.

Considering the beating the market has taken in the last few months, it seems to me this is almost encouraging news! This long overdue market adjustment is reducing prices to a more affordable level. Lower pricing, combined with the lowest mortgage rates Canada has seen in awhile, is enticing qualified buyers to jump into the market again snapping up some very good deals.

Talk around the office water cooler is that realtors are noticing an increase in sales in December, up from the past few months, that makes the approaching spring market look promising. If it keeps up, the surplus of properties for sale will begin to be absorbed resulting in the market balancing out a little more and price drops levelling off. Sellers won’t feel so battered and buyers won’t feel so poor - in other words, a fair market!

If I had a crystal ball, I’d be the happiest realtor in Vancouver! But for now, all I can do is look at the statistics and keep my fingers crossed, just like you.
Wishing you a successful 2009!
To see the latest December 2008 stats, click on the link below.
_media/Documents/REBGV Dec Stats 2008.png

Residential Housing Price Decline

Creates Buying Opportunities

Housing price reductions across Greater Vancouver over the last six months have eliminated price gains witnessed in the first quarter of 2008.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential benchmark prices, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, declined 8.8 per cent between May and October 2008, resulting in a 3.9 per cent year-to-date price reduction for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver between Octobers 2007 and 2008. In May 2008, the overall residential benchmark price was $568,411, compared to $518,668 in October 2008.


“Home sales are not keeping pace with the positive economic conditions in BC,” said REBGV president, Dave Watt. “That’s a direct result of a loss of consumer confidence in the overall market. Accordingly, today’s housing market is characterized by moderating home prices and wide selection. It’s definitely a buyer’s market.”


Residential property sales in Greater Vancouver declined 55 per cent in October 2008 to 1,364 from the 3,028 sales recorded in October 2007.


Active listings totalled 19,257 in October 2008, a three per cent decline from the 19,852 active listings reported in September 2008. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties increased one per cent to 4,867 in October 2008 compared to October 2007, when 4,819 new units were listed.


Sales of detached properties in October 2008 declined 56.5 per cent to 493 from the 1,133 sales recorded during the same period in 2007. The benchmark price for detached properties declined 4.7 per cent from October 2007 to $695,962. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for a detached property in Greater Vancouver has declined 9.8 per cent.


Sales of apartment properties in October 2008 declined 52.7 per cent to 647, compared to 1,368 sales in October 2007. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 3.5 per cent from October 2007 to $358,359. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for an apartment property in Greater Vancouver has declined eight per cent.


Attached property sales in October 2008 are down 57.5 per cent to 224, compared with the 527 sales in October 2007. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 1.4 per cent in Greater Vancouver between October 2007 and 2008 to $448,152. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for an attached property in Greater Vancouver has declined 6.4 per cent.
Click here to see Listing and Sales Activity Summary for October 2008.
Click here to see Greater Vancouver Average Price Graph for October 2008.

A successful sale requires that you concentrate on six considerations: your asking price, your terms of sale, the condition of your house, its location, its accessibility, and the extent of marketing exposure your house receives. While some of these factors are beyond your control, you can compensate by taking advantage of others (like a new paint job) to make your property as attractive to prospective buyers as possible.
When is the best time to list a house for sale?

The "best" time to list your house is actually as soon as you decide to sell it. If you want to get the best price for your house, the key is to give yourself as much time as possible to sell it. More time means more potential buyers will probably see the house. This should result in more offers; it also gives you time to consider more options if the market is slow or initial interest is low.

Is there any seasonality to the market?

Peak selling seasons vary in different areas, and weather has a lot to do with it. Late spring and early fall are the prime listing seasons because houses tend to "show" better in those months than they do in the heat of summer or the cold of winter. And of course, people like to do their house shopping when the weather is pleasant.

But keep in mind that there are also more houses on the market during the prime seasons, so you'll have more competition. So while there is seasonality in the real estate market, it's not something that should dominate your decision on when to sell.

What about market conditions — price trends, interest rates, and the economy in general? Should they have any bearing on when I list? Probably not. Even if you're under no pressure to sell, waiting for better market conditions is not likely to increase your profit potential.

So how long should it take to sell?

Average selling times vary from 10 to 90 days, according to market conditions in a particular region or even neighbourhood, But if it hasn't sold within 30 days of being placed on the market at least one of the six considerations: price, terms, condition, location, accessibility or market exposure must be made more attractive to prospective buyers. Selling in any market is easier if you keep time on your side.
I´ve decided to sell my what?
To list your home, call me and we´ll start with a Market Analysis of your property and your neighbourhood. I can advise you on any improvements that could help in the sale, I´ll develop a marketing strategy just for you and, together, we´ll determine the best price for your home in today´s market .
Once the fine points are decided upon, I´ll go over the listing contract details with you. Then leave the rest to me! I´ll make your home selling experience as easy and worry-free as possible. Call me today to get your home SOLD!


I bet you didn't know your favourite Vancouver Realtor is a published childrens book illustrator!

Kip and Zara's Money Adventure introduces money management concepts to children ages 4 to 8 through its fun and colourful alien characters, Kip and Zara. Author Bill Roche published it in 2006 but it's only available in a limited number of bookstores in eastern Canada or through our local warehouse    

We've been distributing it through corporate sponsorship from companies like TD Bank and New Westminster Savings. It's also a major component of Bill's educational workshops that his company, PowerPlay Strategies, puts on for parents and kids through their schools.
I also give autographed copies to my clients who are expecting or have families. It's my way of saying Thank You for their business!

If you're interested in becoming a corporate sponsor or would like to puchase a copy for $11.95 plus tax, please contact me for more information.

According to The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, statistics for February 2008 show a drop in residential attached, detached and apartment property sales by about 6.4% from last year. However, new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties rose by 26.2% in February 2008 compared with February 2007. What does it all mean to your average buyer or seller?


"We continue to see the market rebalance, particularly with detached properties, where listings climb and sales either hold or decline slightly," says REBGV president Brian Naphtali. "This shift increases buyer options and allows people more time to make decisions when purchasing a home."
In other words, the trend seems to be shifting to a buyer's, rather than a seller's, market. There should be less multiple offer situations depending on the property, area and price, and buyers will have more time (although not much) to decide on whether to purchase that house or condo.
It's my job to guide you through the complicated process of buying or selling your home, including researching the market trends in the neighbourhood and suggesting a price that's fair market value. Contact me today and together we'll assess your needs and goals. From helping you find your dream home to closing the deal - and every small or large step in between - I'll be there to ensure your home buying or selling journey is a smooth one!
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