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The following is a summary of stats released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Most of it is specific to detached houses on the Westside of Vancouver.  

Housing Price Index

 
September: $1,315,517
October: $1,279,528
November: $1,116,267
December: $1,165,007
January: $1,134.773
February: $1,170,866
March: $1,127,017 (vs $1,448,310 in March '08)
 
3-Month Average: $1,169,410
 
1-Year Change: -22.2%
3-Year Change: +6.4%
5-Year Change: +45.6%
 
 

Number of Sales

 
 
September: 46
October: 52
November: 25
December: 56
January: 46
February: 100
March: 144 (vs 136 in March '08)
 

Number of New Listings

 
September: 314
October: 232
November: 128
December: 74
January: 195
February: 203
March: 205 (vs 268 in March '08)
 

Total Active Listings (includes condos) 

 
September: 4314
October: 4241
November: 4112
December: 3424
January: 3230
February: 3332 
March: 3270 (vs 2614 in March '08)
 

Total Sales (Includes condos) 

 
September: 323
October: 285
November:  185
December: 211
January: 189
February: 399
March: 553 (vs 616 in March '08)
 

Summary 

 
Prices are essentially unchanged, at least statistically, since last month, but the low end of the market has been quickly disappearing (it's all been sold!).  For the past 6 months, with a little shopping around and a good Realtor, you could have purchased a nice home on a side street on the West Side for around $750,000.  Today, you would be lucky to find something like that for under $850,000.  Even the most pesimistic Realtors in my office are now starting to admit that the bottom has past.
 
You can see the reason for this in the statistics...  The number of new listings was almost the same in March as it was in February (up 1%), but sales have gone up 44%.  This translates into total listings being down about 15%.  We actually had more sales in March 2009 than we did in March 2008.  And almost all of these sales have been in the low end of the market, meaning the first time buyers have scooped up all the deals.  We have almost reached a housing shortage, and multiple offers are a daily occurrence again in Vancouver.
 
A good chunk of what's currently left for sale is overpriced, left over from listings taken last summer or fall -- before sellers were willing to admit what's happened.  None of this overpriced stuff is going to sell, and will instead expire over the next few months.  Because of the large inventory of "unsaleable" housing, the current sale-able listing count in Vancouver is actually on the low side.
 
According to CMHC stats just released yesterday, there are currently only 24,206 new units under construction (including condos, rental units, and houses), and housing starts are down an incredible 72% since last year. Statistics BC is projecting 65,000 people will move to the province this year, with the vast majority of them coming to Vancouver.  Rental vacancy rates are already under 1% in most areas of Vancouver....  Who remembers what happens to prices when you have a small supply and a huge demand?
 
So.....  If you have been planning to buy, do so asap!  I promise you that prices will go up again sooner than most people realize.  If you've been planning to trade-up into a bigger house or condo, the window of opportunity for you to do that before prices go up is closing fast! 
 

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Brad Gordon
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