Condos alone can’t meet buyer demandSales of condominium apartmentsaccounted for 53 per cent of all housingsales in Greater Vancouver in November2021, with a 33.3% surge in transactionscompared to November of 2020, but therecord-setting sales pace may underlinedesperation in the market.In the Fraser Valley, November sales ofcondo apartments were up 42.8% fromNovember of 2020 and the benchmarkprice was up 21.7 per cent compared toNovember 2020.We suspect more buyers are opting for acondo apartment because there is simplysuch little choice amidst unprecedentedlow inventory across all of MetroVancouver. As well, apartments attractmore investors than other sectors of thehousing market, which further reduces theinventory. This is seen in pre-sales of new
condo projects, in both Greater Vancouverand the Fraser Valley.At least six new condo projects in Surrey,for example, completely pre-sold a total of1,400 new condos since the summer. Onehigh-rise project in central Surrey pre-sold365 condos in a single weekend inmid-November.Metro Vancouver saw 15 new condoprojects, with a total of 2,525 units,released in October and this was followedby 1,796 pre-sale condos released in 13projects in November. Yet CanadaMortgage and Housing Corp. reports that,even with 25,000 new condos underconstruction across Metro Vancouver,there were less than 1,500 condo unitsunsold as of November 1, the lowest levelin three years.As the demand increased, the price of themost affordable housing option has risen in
step. As of November, the benchmark pricefor a resale apartment in GreaterVancouver was $752,800, up 11.1% fromNovember of last year and 0.9% higherthan in October 2021. In the Fraser Valley,the benchmark price for an apartment isnow $530,400.The average pre-sale price for a newcondo in Metro Vancouver is now $1,050 to$1,150 per square foot, based on recentpre-sales. This means that a typicalone-bedroom 480-square foot new condocosts around $500,000, and this averageholds steady throughout most MetroVancouver suburbs. Investors andowner-occupiers continue to buy due toexpectations that prices will be even higherin the months and years ahead, whichdoes appear certain due to the stubbornlylow inventory.The housing supply issue in MetroVancouver is seriously out of whack with
market demand. We have seen recentmunicipal and provincial governmentattempts to increase supply, but it is toolittle and too late to correct the currentshortage any time soon.Across Greater Vancouver the totalinventory of homes for sale is stuck at atwo month’s supply while thesales-to-listing ratio is running at 83% onaverage and cresting at over 100% inmany markets.With December looming, a month whenlistings traditionally fall to the lowest levelof the year, Greater Vancouver will likelysee the smallest ever inventory of homesto begin a New Year. The lowest we’veseen at the start of a year is at 6,200 activelistings. We will likely have less than 6,000at the end of December which wouldtranslate into less than 5,000 active listingsin Greater Vancouver when 2022 starts,
after all the expired listings come and go atthe end of December.To put this in perspective, over the last sixyears, the average number of activelistings to finish the year has been 8,440while in the previous 20 years it’s been12,015 homes.If you have considered selling any type ofproperty, list now and prepare for offers. Ifyou need to wait until after the seasonalholidays, list early in January.
Highlights of the November 2021house market:Highest year-over-year detached houseprice increase in Greater Vancouver:Maple Ridge, up 34.1%Biggest year-over-year detached housesales drop: Surrey, down 33.1%Most expensive condo market: WestVancouver ($1.16 million)Least expensive condo market: Surrey($433,000)Average sales-to-listing ratio, GreaterVancouver: 87%
Here’s a summary of the numbers:Greater Vancouver: A total of 3,492homes sold in November 2021, virtuallyunchanged (up 1%) from October but 15%higher than in November 2020. Activelistings, however, crashed to 7,570 homes,down from 11,716 in November of lastyear. Here is a snapshot example of whatis happening: New listings continue todecline as they have for months, slipping afurther 2% from October to November. Themonth’s supply of total residential listings isstill at two month’s (seller’s marketconditions) and the overall sales to listingsratio is at 87% compared to 86% inOctober 2021 and 75% in November 2020.The composite home price in GreaterVancouver is now $1,211,200. Thisrepresents a 16% increase over November2020 and a 1% increase compared toOctober 2021.
Vancouver Westside: A total of 647homes of all types sold in the Westside inNovember, up 38% from November of2020 and 9% higher than in October 2021.New listings in November were down 11%compared to October 2021, but up 8%compared to November 2020. Month’ssupply of total residential listings is down to3 month’s supply (seller’s marketconditions) and sales to listings ratio is75% compared to 61% in October 2021and 59% in November 2020. The price ofdetached houses on the Westside is slowlydeclining. The benchmark price of the 100detached houses sold in November was$3,413,800, down 1% from October andtracking down about 1% over the past sixmonths. The benchmark townhouse priceis now $1,296,900, unchanged from amonth earlier and up 12.7% fromNovember of last year. The benchmarkprice for a Westside condo apartment inNovember was $835,500, 9.6% higherthan in November 2020. With more
inventory on Vancouver’s Westside, it’skeeping prices more in check compared toother areas. Funny, more supply does helpkeep prices down.
Vancouver East Side: The City ofVancouver claims it is speeding upresidential building permit approvals. As anexample, the city claims that it should nowtake 12 weeks less time to get a permit fora new house to be built. As a comparison,Surrey, which is the second largest B.C.city, guarantees that it will take no morethan 12 weeks for a new house buildingpermit to be approved. In Vancouver it canstill take seven years for a permit for a newcondo or townhouse development to workthrough the city process. Meanwhile,housing demand is increasing and supplyis falling. Total East Side housing sales inNovember reached 385, up 6% fromNovember 2020, but active listings weredown to 921 homes, compared to 1,232 inNovember of last year. With the overallsales to listing ratio at 76%, there is nowjust a two-month supply of homes on theEast Side. As a result, the benchmarkdetached house price in November was$1,744,700, up 20% from a year ago; the
typical townhouse now sells for$1,070,700, up 18.8%, year-over-year; andthe benchmark condo price is now$639,600 and has been rising by 1%month-over-month this year in this seller’smarket.
North Vancouver: The benchmark price ofa detached house this November in NorthVancouver was $1,955,300, up 17% from ayear ago, but for 88 house owners incentral Lonsdale, detached house pricesmay soon be rising faster. That’s becausethe City of North Vancouver ruled onNovember 15 to upzone the 300 block (St.Andrews and Ridgeway avenues) fromEast 15th to East 19th Streets forduplexes. Even higher density zoning, toinclude row houses, is being eyed for thearea. This plan has been in the works forseven years. Under the change, the 88 lotscan be converted to duplexes withoutgoing through the usual time-consumingzoning process. It is a start, at least. So farthis year, no townhouses have beenapproved to start in North Vancouver cityand there are only 27 under construction inthe entire city. Meanwhile, there were only40 new listings for townhouses in all ofNorth Vancouver City and District inNovember and there were 42 sales,
resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio of 105%,meaning every townhouse listing is selling.I know we keep beating the same drum,but when will municipalities realize thatmore housing supply is desperatelyneeded?
West Vancouver: While overall housingsales were down in November, with the 81transactions off 10% from both October2021 and from November 2020, WestVancouver also posted a dubious award:provincial data shows West Vancouverhomeowners will pay the fourth-highestspeculation and vacancy tax in theprovince for 2020, at $5.9 million. Theonerous speculation tax is supposed tolower both the rental vacancy rate and theprice of housing. There is no evidence ofeither since the tax was introduced, in factit appears to have had the exact oppositeeffect. The composite home price in WestVancouver was up 12% from a year ago, at$2,552,100 in November. A lack of supplymay cause prices to increase: new listingsin November were down 30% compared toOctober 2021 and the sales-to-listing ratiois at 70% compared to 54% a monthearlier.
Richmond: How time and opportunity slipaway. In November, nearly nine years aftera plan was first discussed, the City ofRichmond has booted a proposal for alarge residential development in theCapstan area – 1,300 homes – for furtherdiscussion. The developer has alreadyagreed to save more trees, add morerentals and pay $205,000 for an “owl andhawk hunting area.” Don’t hold your breathwaiting for a new townhouse or condo inthat area, despite the intense demand. InNovember, a total of 481 homes sold inRichmond, up 43% from November of2020, but the total active listings plunged to997 homes, down from 1,637 at that timelast year and 1,155 at the end of October2021. With just a two-month supply on themarket, the sales-to-listing ratio is astartling 94%. The current composite homeprice in Richmond is $1,116,200, up 16.3%from November of last year. We fullyexpect Richmond home prices to increaseas the supply dwindles.
Ladner: Okay, I know we have heard thisbefore, but Ladner may actually be movingtowards completing a downtown makeoverplan – discussed for decades and inplanning for two years – that wouldincrease density and encourageredevelopment of the waterfront. InNovember the city gave preliminaryapproval for projects of up to six storeys. Apublic hearing on the plan is set forDecember 14, starting at 6 p.m. InNovember, 41 homes sold in Ladner, up8% from October, but new listings fell 20%in the same period. There is about aone-month supply of homes on the market,and the sales-to-listing ratio is at aremarkable 103%. The composite homeprice was $1,077,700 in November, 23.5%higher than in November 2020.
Tsawwassen: The benchmark price of aTsawwassen detached house in Novemberwas up 26.8% from a year earlier to$1,476,700, which is also 5.5% higher thanjust three months ago, one of the higherprice increases in Greater Vancouver.Townhouse prices have shot up 13.4%year-over-year, to $872,500, which ishigher than in Burnaby or NewWestminster. This underlines the priceparity we noted last month that may bekeeping new listings in check. At one time,a seller could cash out of home in Burnabyor Vancouver and be confident of buyingfor much less in areas like South Delta.Also, a first-time buyer would look to theouter suburbs for more affordable homesto get onto the real estate ladder. Buttoday, home prices are quite similar acrossall of Metro Vancouver. Like many suburbs,the law of supply and demand is drivingTsawwassen prices higher. With newlistings down 14% in November from amonth earlier, the sales-to-listing ratio was
106% and multiple offers have becomecommon.
Burnaby East: It was more expensive tobuy a condo apartment in Burnaby Eastthan a townhouse this November, a rarityin Greater Vancouver. I suspect it isbecause of a lack of townhouse sales in amarket where there is only a one month’ssupply of homes on the market, plus therecent resales of fairly new condos. In anycase, the benchmark condo price inNovember was $742,400, while thetownhouse benchmark was $704,400. Theoverall sales-to-listing ratio is 85%,creating a seller’s market in Burnaby East.
Burnaby North: The benchmark price of aNorth Burnaby detached house hasincreased about $238,000 over the pastyear to a November benchmark of$1,769,000. And yes, we are still seeingmultiple offers on prime houses in thisstrong seller’s market. Total sales inNovember were 185 homes, up 19% fromNovember 2020, but the total active listingswere down to 322, compared to 439 at thesame time last year. The sales to listingratio is running at 84%, up from 63% inNovember 2020. Burnaby North is a verystrong condo market, due to the ongoingBrentwood area developments, with thebenchmark condo price in November at$738,300, 11.1% higher than a year ago.
Burnaby South: Total housing sales inNovember reached 225 transactions, up42% from November of last year andvirtually unchanged from October 2021.Active listings were at 358 at month endcompared to 669 at the same time lastyear, and 438 at the end of October 2021.New listings in November were down 2%compared to October 2021. Thesales-to-listing ratio was 100% in bothNovember and in October, showing thatsupply is not close to meeting demand.Townhouses are posting the strongestprice growth, increasing an average of 2%per month for the last six month to reach$772,600 in November.
New Westminster: One potentialdeveloper has been waiting six years for asmall townhouse development to achievezoning through New Westminster’sapproval process. Another, a rental projectwhich even the mayor said “checks all theboxes,” was dissuaded from proceeding inNovember because city staff areconcerned the site “is problematic from alivability perspective.” Meanwhile, only 12new townhouses have been completed inNew Westminster this year and, of the 16condo apartments completed, there is onlyone that has been “unabsorbed”, accordingto Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.There are 1,522 apartments underconstruction in the Royal City, but most willnot complete until 2023 since 1,200 ofthem just started this year, and many ofwhich are rentals. What is badly needed isstrata townhouses. In November therewere only 17 new listings for townhouses,but the sales-to-listing ratio was 142% dueto 24 sales. As a result, the median price of
a townhouse has soared $120,000 from ayear ago to $854,000 this November. NewWestminster currently has only a onemonth’s supply of all types of housing andthe sales-to-listing ratio is running at 99%.
Coquitlam: With total listings down nearly50% in November, to 383, compared to thesame month a year earlier and down from430 at the end of October 2021, evenCoquitlam is facing a housing shortage.This is reflected in prices in a marketwhere the November sales-to-listing ratiowas a high 89% and touched 110% inOctober. The benchmark condo price is up14.2% year-over-year to $607,000; thetypical townhouse is transacting at$890,100, up 22.2% from the same timelast year; and detached house prices are24% higher to $1,577,900.
Port Moody: A flashpoint for thedevelopment community is close to ignitionin Port Moody, where a major developer isapparently prepared to walk away from alarge multi-family development because ofrepeated delays and changes from the city.The overall plan, more than two years inthe works, involves replacing 58 detachedhouses that were assembled for a newdevelopment with hundreds of condos andtownhouses. Meanwhile, total activelistings have fallen about 40% from a yearago to just 125 homes in November. Thereis an estimated two-month’s supply on themarket and the overall sales-to-listing ratiohas been over 84% for two months. Thecomposite price for a Port Moody homewas up 16.6% from a year ago at$1,086,700 in November.
Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales inPort Coquitlam reached 127 homes inNovember, up 6% from a month earlier and25% higher than in November 2020. Activelistings were at 107 at the end ofNovember, compared to 199 at that timelast year and 138 at the end of October;new listings in November were down 13%compared to October 2021. Once by farthe most affordable TriCity community, PortCoquitlam’s detached house price, at abenchmark of $1,323,500 in November, isnarrowing the gap with Coquitlam and PortMoody, after increasing 27.3% from a yearearlier. Based on its 111% sales-to-listingratio, there is only a one-month supply ofhomes on the Port Coquitlam market.
Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is stillrelatively affordable for home buyers, butonly in relation to the rest of MetroVancouver. Just three years ago thebenchmark detached house price in PittMeadows was $702,000. This November itwas $1,310,200. This may help explainwhy total sales in November were down30% from the same month a year ago and6% lower than in October 2021. Newlistings increased 13% in November from amonth earlier, but total active listings, atjust 37, are 40% lower than a year ago.The sales-to-listing ratio calmed to 72%compared to 106% in October 2021, butthis remains a seller’s market.
Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge holds thedistinction of posting the highest detachedhouse price increase in Greater Vancouver,with the November benchmark price up34.1% from a year earlier to $1,204,000.The entire Maple Ridge market is quiteactive, with November sales of 198 homesup 6% from a month earlier and 12%above the pace in November 2020. Whiletotal active listings are 55% lower than ayear ago, new listings in November wereup an encouraging 27% compared toOctober 2021. Yet, with the sales-to-listingratio at 90% in November and 109% inOctober, prices may be forced higher.
Surrey: Speaking of price parity, thebenchmark price of a detached house inSurrey in November was $1,557,900 afterincreasing 34.7% from a year earlier. But,and we have to blame the spike in prices,sales of detached houses plunged 33.1%in the same period and have remainedstatic at around 320 sales for the last threemonths. Townhouses have seen the sametrajectory, with year-over-year prices up30.3% and sales falling by 20%. Lovely asSurrey is, when property prices begin tochallenge suburban markets closer toVancouver, it appears buyer resistancesets in. The outlier is Surrey condos, whichare priced at a benchmark of $433,000 –far lower than in Greater Vancouver wherethe condo price is now $752,000. Surreycondo sales soared 52.5% in November, to305 transactions, compared to November2020. I would suggest that many first-timebuyers and investors are being drawn toSurrey’s condo market.
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