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Vancouver housing demand resurgent

Ryan Berlin: The trends are clear – the Lower Mainland’s market is heating (back) up.

Our region’s housing market has charted a new course in the second half of 2019 and logged its fourth consecutive month of sales gains in October, with last month’s sales up 42% compared to October 2018.

This reflects continued population growth and economic expansion, an absence of new policy interventions, and some pent-up demand that has accumulated over the past couple of years.

Notably, the rebound has been realized across all home types, with sales of townhomes in October up 40%, condos up 41%, and detached up 43% versus last year. As a result, townhome and condo sales are now 22% above their respective long-run historical averages (though detached sales are still 7% below the norm).

October’s sales were also up 21% versus September--notable because we typically see an average 7% seasonal increase at this time of year. Clearly, the demand side of our market is playing catch-up, with the 4,367 sales registered last month representing the fourth-highest number in the past ten Octobers.

One consequence of this recently-elevated sales activity has been a contraction in inventory, with total listings down 12% year-over-year and 11% month-over-month. Benchmark prices have, as a result, begun to change course after months of stagnation: overall, prices were up 0.1% in October versus September, with detached prices up 0.3% and condo prices up 0.1% (townhome prices slipped by 0.1%).

On the whole it has become unambiguously clear that our market has exited the slump that characterized much of the past two years.

Looking ahead, expect even more competition for available homes which, when combined with continued favourable economic conditions, is sure to create tailwinds for prices.

Ryan Berlin is the Senior Economist with rennie intelligence


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