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Greater Vancouver's home sales see 35% slump from last year

Despite slowdown, benchmark prices have not fallen – yet
Generic Real Estate

In a spring real estate market that has seen more fizzle than sizzle, last month’s home resale activity cooled even further, according to the latest stats from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The board reported 2,833 residential sales in the region in May, which is 35.1 per cent lower than May 2018, an even-steeper annual decline than April’s weak performance. However, May’s total sales were up 9.8 per cent month over month.

Last month’s residential resale activity was also 19.3 per cent below the historical 10-year average for May, said the REBGV.

Like in April, it was the lowest number of residential transactions for the month in 17 years. The last time May saw lower sales numbers was 2001, when the REBGV recorded 2,703 unit transactions.

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Despite the considerable slowdown in activity, the benchmark price for all home types across the region rose to $1,094,000 – an 11.5 per cent increase over May 2017 and a rise of 0.2 per cent on April 2018.

The slower absorption, combined with more sellers listing their homes – new listings rose 5.5 per cent from a year ago and 9.5 per cent over April – meant that available inventory climbed rapidly. The number of homes for sale in the region at the end of May was 11,292, a whopping 38.2 per cent increase over May 2017 (8,168) and a 15 per cent increase compared to April 2018 (9,822).

Although a significant improvement in supply, that number is still historically low, asserted the board, at 17.2 per cent below the 10-year May average. “With fewer homes selling today compared to recent years, the number of homes available for sale is rising,” said Phil Moore, REBGV president. “The selection of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver has risen to the highest levels we’ve seen in the last two years, yet supply is still below our long-term historical averages.”

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2018 was 25.1 per cent – which remains a seller’s market, although creeping down towards a balance market. By property type, the ratio is 14.7 per cent for detached homes (balanced), versus 30.8 per cent for townhomes and 41.7 per cent for condos (both seller’s markets, although not as extreme as in recent months).

Sales and prices by property type

Dropping 40.2 per cent, single-family homes saw the biggest year-over-year decline in sales, to 926 units sold in May. However, this is a marked recovery from April’s 807 detached transactions, a rise of 14.7 per cent month over month.

REBGV took the benchmark price for detached properties to $1,608,000, a moderate 2.4 per cent increase over May 2017 and up 0.1 per cent over April 2018. As ever, price changes vary wildly by city and neighbourhood, with Burnaby South, Vancouver West (West Side and downtown/West End) and West Vancouver all posting year-over-year drops in detached benchmark prices – the steepest in Vancouver West, down 4.4 per cent. Nine areas (out of 17) posted a monthly decrease in detached home prices, the highest of these in Burnaby North, down 1.3 per cent.

For attached properties such as townhouses, row homes and duplexes, sales totalled 476, a 39.8 per cent decrease from the 791 sales in May 2017. It was also just 10 units higher than the 464 attached homes sold in April this year.

The benchmark price of an attached unit now stands at $859,500, up a strong 16 per cent increase from May 2017 and a 0.6 per cent increase compared with April 2018. Year-over-year price increases for this home type range from 33.6 per cent in Whistler and 28.7 per cent in Squamish, to a low of 8.5 per cent in Vancouver West.

As is the recent trend, condo sales fared best, totalling 1,431 in May, a drop of 29.3 per cent from May 2017 and a 9.4 per cent rise over April this year.

The price of a typical apartment is now $701,700, which is a 20.2 per cent increase from May 2017 and 0.1 per cent higher than April 2018. Maple Ridge was the area to see the steepest annual condo price jump, up a staggering 44.2 per cent in a year, whereas Vancouver West again posted the weakest price growth, up a still-strong 13.3 per cent.

Home prices vary widely in different areas throughout the region. To get a good idea of home prices in a specific location and by property type, check the detailed MLS® Home Price Index in the full REBGV statistics package.