Fall 2011 Market Update
The detached market on Vancouver’s Westside continues to hold firm despite numerous predictions (not mine)to the contrary. While prices did rise at an alarming rate at the beginning of the year, instead of “crashing”, “burning” or “bursting”, the market increases have just reverted to a more sustainable pace in most sectors. Inventory has increased with sellers wanting to cash in, but buyers recognizing they now have more choice, are only willing to jump in and compete if they see real value. The listing inventory is divided into 2 categories: a) homes which are unrealistically priced and sitting for weeks even months on the market and b) homes right door next to them which are competitively priced and will sell in the first few days of the listing with competing offers often still at significantly more than the list price. Buyers from Mainland China continue to dominate the Westside Market and land remains the key attraction. Vancouver’s Eastside enjoyed another strong first half with older character homes and rapidly evolving neighbourhoods with easy access to Downtown giving local families an affordable alternative to the burbs.
As predicted in my previous newsletter, sales volume in the condo market settled down after the March 18th mortgage rule change deadline passed. However, the market has remained reasonably well balanced since and prices are stable. Essentially spring happened early this year and summer, especially in the first time buyer segment, has been quieter. However, the news from the frontline is that the quieter summer may also mean our first traditional “fall market” for some time. While it is not yet reflected in the official stats, this has personally been my busiest September since 2007. Where there is value, the market is reacting quickly to it and competing bids are commonplace, if not necessarily forcing the prices significantly over list. The higher end of the condo/townhouse market during the same period behaved differently, as it was being fuelled less by move up buyers and more by those cashing out of the overheated detached spring market. As less detached homes came to the market this summer, I suspect that the high end condo market may soften again now as we head into the last quarter.