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For condos & townhouses: Almost 20% drop in number of GVA areas in a seller’s market (October 2018)

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Those shopping for a condo or townhouse may still be feeling the struggle. It’s hard to find an affordable condo or townhouse in the Greater Vancouver Area. But there is a silver lining. In one month, about 20% of Greater Vancouver’s communities are no longer in a seller’s market. That’s good news, but it still doesn’t mean that it’s easy for those looking to purchase a condo or townhouse in the Lower Mainland.

Of the 15 areas that make up the Lower Mainland, 60% are still in a seller’s market, including Metro Vancouver, North Vancouver and Richmond, BC. The remaining 40% of the GVA areas are now in a balanced market, meaning that supply and demand are evenly matched and prices are stable. But real estate is hyper-local. Even the hottest areas — such as Metro or Downtown Vancouver — can shift and offer buyers better options. For instance, Quilchena in Vancouver West and Bridgeport in Richmond, B.C., are now both in a buyer’s market for those looking to buy a condo or townhouse. For a list of the top 10 neighbourhoods for buyers, please see “10 Top Neighbourhoods in the GVA for Buyers of Condos and Townhouses” below.

Here is a snapshot of the current market for condos and townhomes in the Greater Vancouver Area:

GVA Housing Market Report Condos & Townhouses October

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Key takeaway: The market is shifting in favour of buyers in the GVA

For a few good bets, consider the following (ranked based on the market absorption ratio):

5 Top Areas in the GVA that Favour Condo and Townhouse Buyers (ranked in order, based on market absorption ratio)

  1. North Delta
  2. West Vancouver
  3. Tsawwassen
  4. Surrey
  5. Abbotsford

However, as we know, real estate is a very local business. While one neighbourhood or street can seem on fire, another can sit by on the sidelines. For that reason, we also examined the 228 neighbourhoods that makeup Greater Vancouver’s real estate marketplace. Sixty-three of these neighbourhoods did not experience any sales activity when it comes to condos and townhouses. Another, 80 of these neighbourhoods were in a seller’s market, while 40 were in a balanced market. The final 45 neighbourhoods are in a buyer’s market.

To help buyers narrow down the best neighbourhoods, we examined those areas with the lowest market absorption rate.

10 Top Neighbourhoods in the GVA for Buyers of Condos and Townhouses

  1. Fraserview, Vancouver East
  2. Killarney, Vancouver East
  3. Lynnmour, North Vancouver
  4. Scottsdale, North Delta
  5. Hastings East, Vancouver East
  6. Walnut Grove, Langley
  7. Crescent Beach – Ocean Park, Surrey – White Rock
  8. Bridgeport, Richmond
  9. Quilchena, Vancouver West
  10. Hatzic, Mission

What should seller’s expect?

In September’s report, about 80% of the GVA was in a seller’s market for condos and townhouses. This month, only 60% of the GVA areas favour sellers. This is a big wake-up call for seller’s of condos and townhouses in the Greater Vancouver Area — the sun is setting on the high-priced heyday of the market peak and for those considering, now is the time to sell. Here are the top five areas and the top 10 neighbourhoods that currently favour condo and townhouses sellers in October 2018:

5 Top Areas in the GTA that Favour Sellers

  1. Mission
  2. North Vancouver
  3. Vancouver East
  4. Richmond
  5. Vancouver West

10 Top Neighbourhoods in the GVA for Buyers of Condos and Townhouses

  1. Capilano, North Vancouver
  2. Cypress Park Estates, West Vancouver
  3. East Delta, Ladner
  4. Lynn Valley, North Vancouver
  5. Dollarton, North Vancouver
  6. South Arm, Richmond
  7. Steveston North, Richmond
  8. Indian River, North Vancouver
  9. Fraser, Vancouver East
  10. Hamilton, North Vancouver

For comparison, check out last month’s GVA Market Report for condos and townhouses.

Why use active listings versus new listings?

We examined the GVA market for single family homes using the sales-to-active listings ratio and not sales-to-new-listings (SNLR) ratio. This means we compare demand — all homes sold within a given period of time — with current supply (all homes available for sale within a given period of time), without omitting stale listings — homes that weren’t new listings that month, but are still available because they haven’t sold, yet.

The sales-to-active listing ratio gives a more realistic and comprehensive view of supply and demand for a particular region over a specified period of time — commonly referred to as the market absorption rate. It’s also why the sales-to-active-listings ratio is also known as the Market Absorption Rate.

Expressed as a percentage, the sales-to-active ratio (or MAR – Market Absorption Rate) is calculated by taking the total number of sales at the end of a given time period (in this case, a calendar month) and dividing it by the total number of active listings available during the same time period. The higher the ratio, the more demand for the property and the more opportunity a seller will have to attract a higher price for their home for sale. A lower ratio indicates slower sales and the potential for falling house prices. A balanced market is when the supply of housing meets the demand from potential buyers. In a balanced market, sellers usually accept reasonable, close-to-list-price offers; homes typically stay on the market for close to the average number of days and prices remain fairly stable within the region.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, a ratio between 0% and 11% is a buyer’s market; a ratio between 12% and 19% is a balanced market; any ratio over 20% is a seller’s market. For context, a balanced market is when the supply of housing meets the demand from potential buyers.

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Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards.