Posted on October 01, 2013

Fall 2013 Real Estate Trends in Metro Vancouver

Whether you’re a recent first-time home buyer or a homeowner seeking an investment opportunity, you have surely been watching the Metro Vancouver real estate scene for indications of secure real estate investment trends.

After a 13-month decline in Metro Vancouver housing prices, it seems that homebuyers are finally jumping into the market to take advantage of the current low interest rates. The Multiple Listings Service (MLS) has reported that in August the sales volume in Metro Vancouver real estate has increased 53% over the 2012 numbers, from 1689 in 2012 to 2514 sales this year. This marked the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases after a 19-month slump.

“Homebuyers were out in force during the summer months,” MLS chief economist Cameron Muir, quoted by The Vancouver Sun this September. “Fear of a housing market hard landing has given way to a sense of urgency to lock in mortgages at a low interest rate.” While interest rates were increased for fixed-term mortgages at many of the large Canadian financial institutions in the range of 20 basis points, or 0.2 percent, they still do remain relatively low and many financial advisors are still advising that homebuyers lock in for as long as possible.

Much of the previous slow down in the Vancouver real estate market can be attributed to the federal government’s tightening of the government-backed mortgages last July, reducing the maximum payback period from 30 years to 25 years. Although this may have limited some prospective buyers, Tsur Somerville, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, confirmed to The Globe and Mail that although housing prices in Metro Vancouver are still on a slight decline, the relatively low interest rates are the reason for the revived Vancouver market, though he is not expecting “any kind of raging growth market” while the economy still isn’t that strong.

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Sandra Wyant seconded the increased confidence in the Metro Vancouver market, reminding prospective buyers that an overall increase in sales and a slow down in price decline indicates market stability: “Buyers and sellers need to recognize that this is an increase in sales. Some buyers might be getting apprehensive that prices are about to surge, but this is a balanced market with stable prices,” she stated to The Globe and Mail in September of this year.

One of the most indicative numbers watched by real estate industry professionals is the sales-to-active-listings ratio. Considered a balanced market by industry experts when ratio is in the 15 to 20 percent range, Metro Vancouver had a ratio of 15.7% this August, another indication that the market has, in fact, stabilized.

If you’re looking to enter the market yourself, have a look at Beedie Living’s exciting new development projects for more information on upcoming available homes in Metro Vancouver:

o Station Square at Metrotown in Burnaby

o The Austin in West Coquitlam
o Fraser Mills in Coquitlam