Greater Vancouver’s housing market added a surprise twist to a year of plot changes as sales in December surpassed the total number of new listings, in some communities running at a two-to-one ratio.
In all, reports the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), 1,295 residential properties sold in the last month of 2022, from a total of 1,206 new listings. This resulted in a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 107 per cent, among the highest seen during the frenzied action of 2020-21.
“If anyone thinks sellers are panic selling, this suggests the exact opposite,” noted Kevin Skipworth, managing partner with Dexter Realty in Vancouver. “If there had been more listings, there would have been more sales – bottom line. We would have likely seen the highest number of homes sold in Greater Vancouver in December if that were the case.”
However, new listings in December had plunged 60 per cent from a month earlier and were nearly a third lower than the 10-year average for the month.
December sales, in comparison, were down 52 per cent compared to December 2021, nearly 20 per cent less than in November 2022 and 37.7 per cent below the 10-year average for the month. The main drag on transactions was a 50-basis point December 7 increase in the Bank of Canada lending rate, the seventh rate increase since February 2022.
Despite the sharp drop in sales, benchmark prices remained stable in December, according to REBGV data, especially in the strata sector.
Benchmark townhouse prices ended 2022 at $1,012,700. This represents a mere 0.2 per cent decrease from December 2021, a 1.5 per cent decrease compared to November 2022, and a 9.2 per cent decrease over the past six months.
The benchmark price of a condominium apartment is $713,700. This is a 1.7 per cent increase from December 2021, a 0.9 per cent decrease compared to November 2022, and a 6.9 per cent decrease over the past six months.
The benchmark price for a detached house is now $1,823,300, which is down 5 per cent from December of last year and 1.8 per cent lower than in November 2022 and 11.4 per cent less than six months ago.
The composite benchmark price for all residential properties is currently $1,114,300. This represents a 3.3 per cent decrease over December 2021, a 1.5 per cent decrease compared to November 2022, and a 9.8 per cent decrease over the past six months.
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the multiple listing service system in Greater Vancouver is 7,384, a 41 per cent increase compared to December 2021 and a 19.6 per cent decrease compared to November 2022.
The REBGV expects 2023 to face same challenges of higher mortgage rates that characterized the last half of 2022.
“The headline story in our market in 2022 was inflation and the Bank of Canada’s efforts to bring inflation back to target by rapidly raising [interest rates]. This is a story we expect to continue to make headlines into 2023, as inflationary pressures remain persistent across Canada,” said Andrew Lis, REBGV’s director, economics and data analytics.