GVREB Market Update April 2012

Every month the GVREB releases it’s market update.  This should not be confused with the REBGV press releases.  Both use current market data and anecdotes from professionals but they spin different directions.

The GVREB is a volunteer organization.  You can help contribute knowledge and market data to their ongoing reports by emailing them at  gvreb1@gmail.com

Here’s the current market update for April 2012:

Real Estate Market Sales Volumes Fall Further in Greater Vancouver

VANCOUVER, B.C. –May 1, 2012 – April saw the Greater Vancouver real estate market continue to falter as sales volumes decreased below all relevant comparative periods including a 4 per cent decline in detached sales from the previous month. Continued education of Canadian buyers on the risks of high debt levels as well as reduced expectations of future increases in real estate prices has inserted an increased level of caution in buyers.

GVREB reports that residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 2,806 in April. This total represents a 13 per cent decrease compared to the 3,225 sales in April 2011. Looking back, sales activities were 20 per cent below the 3,512 units sold in April 2010 and also 5 per cent below the 2,963 units sold in April 2009. April’s sales volume and its sale to list ratio of 46% were both the lowest of the previous 12 years. In addition, we saw the average detached price fall a further 4% from March 2012 and is 8% below April 2011 in last year. The impact is partly been a result of a significant slowdown of properties valued over $3.0 million with months of inventory for these units are now exceeding 18 months.

Discussions with industry professionals have noted “This is the weakest spring we have seen since before 2001. Limited price increases over the past 5 years in the condo and townhouse market has resulted in a reduced pool of move up buyers. The excess of unsold newly built luxury detached properties has caused home builders to be absent as purchasers on the resale market as they focus on selling their existing completed homes. These two factors combined with changing buyer sentiment and stricter lending conditions, has resulted in significant inventory increases in the lower priced detached single family homes.” GVREB notes that previous inventory increases were concentrated in higher price categories and thus we now have a more broad market slowdown. GVREB also wishes to clarify that that major transportation and road infrastructure enhancements in more distant suburban locations have had little impact on prices with areas such as Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows only seeing insignificant price increases and many properties experiencing decreasing values.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 6,067 in April. This is approximately 12 per cent above the 10-year listing average for the month of April. Listings in April 2012 represent a 4 per cent increase compared to April 2011 when 5,847 properties were listed for sale and an 21 per cent decline compared to the 7,648 new listings reported in April 2010. The Spring listings pace increased 4 per cent from the 5,843 listings in March 2012.

We are now at decade high inventory levels for the Spring season and at 16,524, the total number of residential property listings in Greater Vancouver increased 16 per cent compared to April 2011, increased 8 per cent from the previous month and has increased 30 per cent since January 2012.

The Residential Reference Price for all residential properties in Grater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 5.1 per cent to $672,000 in April 2012 from $639,200 in April 2011. Although the market has increased in the past 12 months, gains are almost entirely a result of gains in the detached market. Price gains of detached prices in recent months however have been insignificant and we are now seeing prices fall in previously strong markets such as Richmond and Burnaby. Due to the limited gains outside of the detached market, leveraged sellers of attached properties and apartments are finding that the high transaction costs in real estate are eliminating much of their equity after selling. A significant majority of purchasers of condominiums across the Greater Vancouver region in the past two years would be unable to realize net gains by selling in current market conditions.

Sales of detached properties in April 2012 slowed to 1,130, a decrease of 19 per cent from the 1,402 detached sales recorded in April 2011, and a 18 per cent decrease from the 1,370 units sold in April 2010. On a month over month basis, sales declined 4 per cent during a period which we typically see an increasing sales trend. Sales during April of detached homes were the lowest since 2001 and were below the 1,190 sales made during April 2009 when the Greater Vancouver market started to recover from the sales reductions during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. The reference price for detached properties increased 5.9 per cent from April 2011 to $1,042,000 but fell from $1,048,000 in the previous month.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,193 in April 2012, a 1 per cent decrease compared to the 1,201 sales in April 2011, and a decrease of 22 per cent compared to the 1,526 sales in April 2010. The reference price of an apartment property increased 1.9 per cent from April 2011 to $379,000.

Attached property sales in April 2012 totalled 483, a 22 per cent decrease compared to the 622 sales in April 2011, and a 22 per cent decrease from the 616 attached properties sold in April 2010. The reference price of an attached unit decreased 1.2 per cent from April 2011 and 2012 to $470,000.

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Extremely rich and proud Van house owner.

@Anonymous: Can tell us the Craigslist listings Craigslist listings number


@Devore: It’s amazing how optimistic some amateur landlords are. The place I moved out of the new owner did some real crap renos including cutting a large living room in half to create an extra bedroom. They then ask almost twice what we were paying. That place has been empty more than it has been occupied in the last 3 years. We actually went to view one of the numerous Craigslist listings for it because we were curious what the renos looked like. Attrocious! Dude must be bleeding money on that one, it always has a ‘for rent’ sign on it.


@900kCrackHouse: I notice that they are required to give 2 months notice and 1 months free rent. I wasn’t able to find where it says that only the new buyer can ask you to move out. Tenancy can only be terminated by the landlord (aside from things like not paying rent) for personal use. Selling is not considered personal use. Only the buyer will be able to give you notice, once conditions are removed and they have a possession date, and then only if they intend to move in themselves (or their family). If you have a lease in place (instead of month-to-month) they have to wait until your lease is over. As for realtor access, it is no different from landlord access, and the place being up for sale doesn’t make anything different. Insist on reasonable access with proper… Read more »


@N: Thanks everyone for the useful information.



People here helped me out over the exact same issue a few months back. Here is where it explains it:



@900kCrackHouse: ” there is nothing worse than a sloppy tennant to diminish the value of a property in the eyes of a potential client.”

Ooh someone is playing the game nicely.


@Anonymous: Good idea. You should have the meeting where you offer to move out for six months rent at your place and make sure it’s a huge mess 😀

Nothing like heaps of dirty laundry and half eaten food scattered around to motivate the deal.



Ask to have a meeting with the owner and listing agent present and make your offer to move within 30 days for 6 months rent.



I would think the place has to be worth a whole lot more vacant. Showings and staging aside, unless it will be sold as a revenue property it would be a big pain for a buyer to take the place over, give you 3 months notice and then wait for you to leave. Most buyers need a place to live right away if they have sold or are selling another place. 6 months rent to get you out ASAP seems like a bargain to me. I know if I was buying a place I wouldn’t touch a rented unit unless it was at a big discount.


@Anonymous: Hahaha – yes I agree one hundred percent. I think I’m going to ask that each showing be scheduled separately using the proper notice and that I receive in writing the names of each person that will be attending.


@900kCrackHouse: I went through this once years ago. I don’t remember what the specific rules are but you have the right to be comfortable in your home whether it’s rented or purchased. We agreed to no more than one showing a week and fortunately it was a hot market so it sold fast. We hung around during the showings because we didn’t trust the realtor or their unknown clients alone in our home. If the new owner doesn’t want to continue with your current rental agreement they are limited by a few rules. They can only kick you out if they are going to move in and they have to give you two months rent. If they lie and you see someone else living there after you’ve moved out you can go after them for more months free rent and… Read more »


@patriotz: Thanks Patriotz. I notice that they are required to give 2 months notice and 1 months free rent. I wasn’t able to find where it says that only the new buyer can ask you to move out.

I’m considering two options:
1) As you suggested, offer to move out early in exchange for a few months rent.
2) Offer to stage the place – have it in impecible condition to increase the value of the sale – also in exchange for a few months rent. I’m pretty sure that having the place look really nice may add 10-20k onto the purchase price.

As I’m sure real-estate agents are fully aware there is nothing worse than a sloppy tennant to diminish the value of a property in the eyes of a potential client.


@PNW: “I thought that was the point- take the same set of facts and spin them the opposite direction.”

That is fine but you have to include the ‘facts’. There are so many great bearish industry insider and economist quotes out there why not use them instead. Noting the fact April 2008 things were in free fall and we are getting closer to that point would be another great thing to add. Most people have forgotten about 2008 so reminding them of it and comparing todays data would be bearish IMO.


@900kCrackHouse: ….I’m not keen on having excessive numbers of real-estate agents and their clients walking through my home….

Given the choice, I’d rather have a chain-gang from Kent Maximum security prison set up a clubhouse in my bedroom than have a real estate agent go through my abode. There’s at least a minimal level of trust and integrity with a chain-gang.


You can get your answers form the RTB web site. I will just note that the owner CANNOT make you move out because the unit is for sale. The new owner has to get you to move out.

Which leads me to make this suggestion – the condo will be a lot easier to sell if it’s vacant. So why not make an offer to move out on your own in return for a suitable incentive – perhaps 6 months rent?


I was just informed that the condo I am living in is being put up for sale. One of the downsides of renting!!! What a pain in the ass.

I guess paying rent a yearly rent to value ratio of less than 1/30 can’t go on for ever. The CBC special last night was saying that the historical norm is 1/15.

What are my obligations with respect to realtors showing the place and with respect to the notice that they have to give me to move out? I’m not keen on having excessive numbers of real-estate agents and their clients walking through my home.


I do agree that attributed quotes would be great though. Maybe we could help by starting to track quotes over at http://Vancouverpeak.com

How do I get a membership to that site?


@Anonymous: I thought that was the point- take the same set of facts and spin them the opposite direction.


GVREB: Discussions with industry professionals have noted “This is the weakest spring we have seen since before 2001…”

If you are going to put quotations around a statement you need more than “discussions with industry professionals have noted”. Actual cited quotes would be much better and we have seen a fair share of bearish ones this past month. There is not a lot of credibility as is.

The other suggestions would be to not omit anything that is not 100% bearish. For example you compared April 2012 sales going back to 2009 but didn’t compare to 2008. It would be nice to see a comparison to 2008 as we know we were in free fall at that point. Don’t leave out important data because it is not 100% bearish otherwise you are doing the same thing as the REBGV.


Phrases that will have a whole new meaning on the way down:

“Real estate is worth exactly what someone is willing to pay for it”

“It’s a buyers market”

“Quit whining about prices”

“This time it is different”

“Vancouver houses break the million dollar mark”

“This is the best place on earth”