Blog by Kevin Wong

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Vancouver Real Estate Buyers, Sellers Take Wait-and-See Attitude

It appears everyone is taking a wait-and-see attitude on Vancouver real estate, statistics released today by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show.

Both buyers and sellers appear to be holding off, with home sales totals about 30 per cent below last year at this time and the number of new listings down 15 per cent from last December and numbering just half of the properties listed last November, REBGV said.

“For much of 2012 we saw a collective hesitation on the part of buyers and sellers in the Greater Vancouver housing market. This behaviour was reflected in lower than average home sale activity and modest fluctuations in home prices,” said Eugen Klein, REBGV president.

The home price index, which is a benchmark price for a typical home, is down 5.8 per cent from a peak of $625,000 to $590,800 for Metro Vancouver.

“We saw home prices come down a bit during the latter half of the year. During the same period, we saw fewer home sales and listings,” Klein said.

There were 1,142 home sales in Metro Vancouver in December, down 31.1 per cent from December 2011, while there were 1,380 new listings in December, down 15.3 per cent from December 2011.

Yesterday, B.C. Assessment sent out 2013 property assessments showing values dropping for the first time in many years, most notably in areas including the west side of Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton, Bowen Island and the Sunshine Coast.

The assessments, which reflect values as of July 1, 2012, showed the majority of property assessments remained stable, gaining or losing less than five per cent of last year’s assessment.

December sales were 38.4 per cent below the 10-year December sales average of 1,855, REBGV found.

For the year, total residential sales numbered 25,032, a 22.7-per-cent drop from 2011 and an 18.2-per-cent drop from 2010. 2012 sales were one-quarter less than the ten-year average for sales in the region.

The number of homes listed for sale dropped two per cent in 2012, to 58,539. The number of listings in 2012 was 6.1 per cent above the ten-year average for the region, REBGV said.

The sales slow down appears to be affecting single-family homes, townhouses and apartments in slightly different ways.

Detached property sales were down more than one-third from both December 2011 and 2010, while the benchmark price for a detached property has dropped 6.5 per cent since the peak in May to $904,200, REBGV said. The benchmark price for a detached property is also down from last December by 2.7 per cent.

Apartment sales also dropped more than one-third from the last two Decembers, while the benchmark price dropped 12.8 per cent since the peak in May to $361,200. The benchmark price for an apartment is down 1.8 per cent from last December.

Townhouse sales volumes fell 16 per cent from December 2011 and 33.2 per cent from December 2010, while the benchmark price has dropped 4.4 per cent to $450,900 from the peak in April.

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