Vancouver Housing Activity Picking Up Off the Lows

Steve Saretsky -

A quick updated on the Vancouver housing market here. I have been tracking data on a weekly basis for the Bank of Canada. It’s unquestionably difficult to try and discern any trends in the Real Estate market on a weekly basis, but we are starting to get a sense of how buyers and sellers are behaving.

Weekly sales over the past four weeks have averaged 43% lower than last years levels. That is incredibly weak considering last April/May was the slowest in nearly two decades.

However, new listings are also very low, at the beginning of April they plunged 65% and have since been steadily increasing as the number of COVID-19 cases slow. As quarantine measures ease, new listings are picking up. They have increased for three consecutive weeks.

New listings are outpacing sales, and this has pushed the months of inventory for sale higher. There is currently 7.4 months of inventory for sale, indicative of a buyers market.

Prices are all over the place, as should be expected when volumes collapse. Ironically, condos, which were the hottest segment of the market pre-virus, are now seeing the most downwards pressure in terms of pricing. I have condo prices down about 5% across the board, you call it the “COVID discount”. Detached house prices appear to be holding up thanks in part to low inventory.

Lastly, there appears to be lots of media buzz over CMHC’s forecast for prices to fall between 9-18% over the coming 12 months. I’ll be the last to admit that I know where prices will be in 12 months. However, I think it’s worth bearing in mind that CMHC is a crown corporation that essentially controls our mortgage market, so they are generally more optimistic if anything. Chances are, behind closed doors, their forecasts are probably more dire. I’m guessing they have a pretty good look at the mortgages on their books and don’t like what they see. Anyways, it would be pretty ironic if they turned out to be incredibly wrong, I guess we’ll find out soon enough.


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The Saretsky Report. December 2022