Slow Market Activity for the First Quarter of 2018

The first quarter of the year has seen slow sales activity from home buyers and sellers in Metro Vancouver. Statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reveal that residential home sales in the region fell to 2,517, 14 percent fewer than February 2018 when 2,207 homes sold, and a whopping 29.7 percent decrease from last year’s 3,579. This number also puts this March’s sales 23 percent below the month’s 10-year average.

Additionally, the region saw its lowest first-quarter sales total since 2003. There were 6,542 home sales on Metro Vancouver’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in the first quarter of 2018, down 13.1 percent from the 7,527 sales recorded last year over the same period.

This decline in sales activity is not altogether surprising, considering that January and February of this year also saw sales slump, and sales are typically relatively slow during the first few months of the year anyway. But we’re seeing huge declines and 10 year lows this quarter. What’s causing this decline?

According to REBGV president Phil Moore, “High prices, new tax announcements, rising interest rates, and stricter mortgage requirements are among the factors affecting home buyer and seller activity today.”

There were about 12,469 homes listed for sale in Metro Vancouver during the first quarter of the year, a slight 0.8 percent decrease from the 12,568 listings over the same period last year. This represents the lowest first-quarter new listings total since 2013.

Will this alleviate some of the pressure on home prices?

“Even with lower demand, upward pressure on prices will continue as long as the supply of homes for sale remains low,” Moore continues. “Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009 and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and townhome segments, of homes for sale remains well below historical norms.”

With busy season still ahead of us, it will be interesting to see how the effects of these statistics play out later in the year.