Vancouver real estate sales strengthen in March

A heritage style home
A heritage style home

This is my monthly look at the real estate market. Below is the official report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

PROPERTY SALES STRENGTHEN IN CURRENT MARKET CYCLE

VANCOUVER, B.C. . April 2, 2009

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 ! fth 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.

METRO VANCOUVER BENCHMARK

The Vancouver Real Estate Board publishes a benchmark that tracks the price of a benchmark property across the region. There are three categories:

  • DetachedThese are houses, sometimes called single family homes
  • AttachedThis refers to townhouses and half duplexes.
  • ApartmentsThis means apartments within high or low rise buildings.

I have set out the benchmark prices across the region, with the annual percentage price rises in brackets and 3 year percentage rise in square brackets.

The top percentage price rise over the year is shown in bold. I have also marked the biggest fall in red.

The story is still of price drops across the board, which is no surprise. In homes (detached) Port Moody did the worst and it’s fellow tri-city, Port Coquitlam did the best.

In attached properties (townhouses), Port Coquitlam also did best, with North Vancouver bringing up the rear.

And in apartments, we see the third tri-city, Coquitlam, make an entrance as the worst contender. Far away to the south, South Delta fared best of an admittedly sorry bunch.

However sorry is a relative word. Buyers looking at more affordable rates and falling prices are happier than they have been in a long time.

DETACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Detached Greater Vancouver $649,342 (-15.1%), [3yr: 6.4%]
  • Burnaby $644,100 (-15.4%), [3yr: 5.8%]
  • Coquitlam $609,883 (-8.2%), [3yr: 15.1%]
  • South Delta $585,171 (-12.9%), [3yr: 5.6%]
  • Maple Ridge $400,949 (-12.6%), [3yr: 4.9%]
  • New Westminster $514,354 (-17.2%), [3yr: 3.9%]
  • North Vancouver $744,495 (-19.8%), [3yr: 0.5%]
  • Pitt Meadows $426,733 (-13%), [3yr: 7.7%]
  • Port Coquitlam $497,902 (-5.9%), [3yr: 12.5%]
  • Port Moody $469,537 (-34.8%), [3yr: -19.4%]
  • Richmond $665,759 (-12.3%), [3yr: 12.2%]
  • Squamish $530,025 (-8.5%), [3yr: 33.4%]
  • Sunshine Coast $363,600 (-16.5%), [3yr: -0.5%]
  • Vancouver East $610,943 (-11.3%), [3yr: 8.6%]
  • Vancouver West $1127,017 (-22.2%), [3yr: 6.4%]
  • West Vancouver $1109,124 (-25.3%), [3yr: -9.2%]
ATTACHED BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Attached Greater Vancouver $420,563 (-11.2%), [3yr: 11.9%]
  • Burnaby $421,421 (-8.3%), [3yr: 14.3%]
  • Coquitlam $370,373 (-15.6%), [3yr: 5.9%]
  • South Delta $392,566 (-10.4%), [3yr: 10.1%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $284,959 (-10.1%), [3yr: 12%]
  • North Vancouver $516,538 (-17%), [3yr: 6.3%]
  • Port Coquitlam $371,265 (-2.8%), [3yr: 13.4%]
  • Port Moody $353,607 (-14.4%), [3yr: 8.7%]
  • Richmond $419,624 (-9.1%), [3yr: 14.3%]
  • Vancouver East $444,199 (-15.2%), [3yr: 13.7%]
  • Vancouver West $624,746 (-12.2%), [3yr: 12.9%]
APARTMENT BENCHMARK PRICES
  • Apartment Greater Vancouver $337,099 (-13.5%), [3yr: 10.5%]
  • Burnaby $302,832 (-12%), [3yr: 11.2%]
  • Coquitlam $250,614 (-16.7%), [3yr: 9.3%]
  • South Delta $342,913 (-5%), [3yr: 25.9%]
  • Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows $233,053 (-10.3%), [3yr: 16.8%]
  • New Westminster $263,500 (-12.8%), [3yr: 16.7%]
  • North Vancouver $347,337 (-13.5%), [3yr: 9.7%]
  • Port Coquitlam $227,058 (-12.6%), [3yr: 14.7%]
  • Port Moody $272,946 (-10.3%), [3yr: 4.1%]
  • Richmond $281,745 (-12.6%), [3yr: 8.1%]
  • Vancouver East $296,377 (-11.6%), [3yr: 17.1%]
  • Vancouver West $422,264 (-14.9%), [3yr: 8.1%]
  • West Vancouver $534,084 (-14.8%), [3yr: 4.4%]
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