Lower Mainland housing sales slow, but more showing up at open houses

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      The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has grabbed onto one morsel of news to offer hope to agents.

      "Sales in February followed recent trends and were below seasonal averages, though our members tell us they saw more traffic at open houses last month compared to the previous six to eight months," REBGV president Eugen Klein said in a statement accompanying February sales figures.

      There may be more people kicking the tires, so to speak, but the board still reported that last month's number of transactions was 30.9 percent below the 10-year average for February. Sales last month were second lowest in the region in February since 2001.

      Not surprisingly, this is having a downward impact on prices. The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark for all forms of housing is at $590,400. That's 5.6 percent below the peak of $625,100 in May 2012.

      A condo on Vancouver's East Side had a benchmark price of $301,600 in February, which is down 0.6 percent from a year ago.

      On the West Side of the city, the benchmark price was $461,900, down 2.5 percent over February 2012.

      Within the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver—which doesn't include North Delta, Surrey, or Langley—the cheapest benchmark price for a condo last month was $177,400 in Maple Ridge.


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      Mar 4, 2013 at 3:41pm

      Mark my words...right now is the bottom of the Vancouver market slump. The city just keeps getting bigger, and the prices are going to rise again from here.

      So, if you want in, this is the time to buy...(and no, I don't work in Real Estate).


      Mar 4, 2013 at 7:35pm

      If you want to live on the Pacific Ocean and still be on the Mainland in an Urban setting you have about 30kms from Horseshoe Bay to White Rock....will always be expensive...just the way it is. I think people are waiting for the HST to be gone.

      waiting for the HST

      Mar 4, 2013 at 7:48pm

      Actually, they are waiting for the HST before listing. Watch supply skyrocket at that time.

      waiting for the HST

      Mar 4, 2013 at 7:50pm

      Did the Straight ever cover the MAC false buyer scandal?


      Mar 4, 2013 at 7:55pm

      The houses and condos here are clearly junk not designed to last, but I guess what we're really investing in is a big ol' shellgame.

      Steve Sankey

      Mar 4, 2013 at 8:43pm

      Ending the HST should slow housing sales. It applied only to new construction sales, and thus provided a boost to the sale of existing homes which greatly exceed the supply of new construction.

      Unless the salaries paid to people who earn their living giving haircuts or working in restaurants jump up significantly, it's probably going to slowly put a damper on all the high value jobs that require capital investment, or all the small businesses that get crushed by the big international multinationals that keep all transactions in-house and don't have to pay PST at various points in the supply chain. Good thing we chose to protect the work that can't leave BC (home construction, hair cuts, restaurants) and gave the heave-ho to the rest (film, manufacturing, space and undersea engineering)


      Mar 5, 2013 at 1:01am

      maybe some people don't want to live in a cold rainy city with horrible career opportunity

      bought a house in the last five years? screwed.

      Mar 5, 2013 at 10:50am

      This was all foretold in this thing some damn fools invented called ECONOMIC THEORY. Look up "mean reversion", then look at how crazy unsustainable prices have gone in the last 10 years.

      Study the analysis of Professional Economists (Schiller, et al.) who have no vested interest at all in our insignificant "world-class" city, and try to prove them wrong with pictures of mountains and oceans and your myths of Asian buyers. (oh, re: Asian buyer myth -- take a look at Richmond housing stats, because they have completely cratered. Also look at Landcor stats -- you know, actual real, meaningful stats that show you who owns what -- and note that foreign ownership is about 2%.)

      Realize that almost all the "positive" news you're received over the years about our market has been almost entirely via the Real Estate Cartel, and not from respected, independent economists who actually study stuff like this because it's what they do and NOT WHAT THEY HAVE TO SELL.

      Examine the cases of other cities with real economies and real cultural infrastructures in the USA, and how they have crashed.

      WATCH THE SPRING MARKET. This year's will be immensely important. If listings explode while sales go down even more, great pressure will be put on prices.

      Then feel free to pee a little in your pants, because by the fall, we could be in a bloodbath.


      Mar 5, 2013 at 4:36pm

      Why do you call this a "story"? It's a press release. I hope they paid the Georgia straight for thi.....wait a sec. Ad after ad by realtors and developers? Free press releases pushed out to the masses? Ah....free market journalism.

      Save Vancouver

      Mar 5, 2013 at 10:42pm

      So the Straight has sunk to reporting realtor anecdotes as a news story? One has to wonder what pecentage of your paper's ad revenue is derived from developers and realtors?