GVREB Press Release May 2012

Note: Every month the GVREB releases a market update. These are very similar to the official REBGV press release – both use real numbers and expert anecdotes, but they spin different directions.  Here is the newest press release covering the Greater Vancouver real estate market for May 2012.

High Inventory Levels and Low Sales Volumes as Greater Vancouver Enters Summer Market


VANCOUVER, B.C. –June 1, 2012 – Sales in Greater Vancouver showed a typical seasonal trend in May but continue to be at low sales volume levels not seen for more than a decade. May showed a pronounced decrease in sales per market day falling from 147 last month to 130 in May. This decrease of 12 per cent compares to the typical average decrease from April to May of 9 per cent. Continued below average sales combined with continued above average listings have resulted in both record high seasonal inventories and near record low sales to listings ratios. Global economic uncertainty, tightening mortgage regulations, cautious buyer sentiment and reduced net immigration rates have reduced overall buyer demand.

May’s total unit sale activity was 2,857 properties. Although this is flat compared to April’s sales, there were 22 market days in May compared to 19 in April and May was the lowest May sales since May 2001. May 2012 sales were 15 per cent below the 3,377 units sold in May 2011 and 5 per cent below May 2008, which was the most recent low for May sales. May’s sale to list ratio of 41% was the second lowest in more than a decade and significantly below the historical average for May of approximately 61%.

GVREB reports that May 2012 continued a negative market sales trend which has existed for the past 10 months and considering expected changes in credit conditions, a recent reduction in the level of foreign buying activity, global financial uncertainty, macro-level demographic changes and continued media coverage of a possible overvalued market, there are no foreseen factors that could change the trend to a positive direction. Failure of current listings to be removed from the market or an immediate reduction in new listing rates will result in measurable price decreases by motivated sellers in the near future. May 2012 also brought significant decreases in average selling prices of detached and attached properties with the average detached price down 13 per cent from its peak in February 2012. During May, the average detached price in the last half of the month was 7 per cent lower than the first half resulting from more pronounced seller discounting in order to complete their sale transaction.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 6,950 in May. This is approximately 22 per cent above the 10-year listing average for the month of May. Listings in May 2012 represented a 17 per cent increase compared to May 2011 when 5,931 properties were listed for sale and an 1 per cent decrease compared to the 7,014 new listings reported in May 2010.

Greater Vancouver continued to have near seasonal record active listings. At 17,834, the total number of residential property listings in Greater Vancouver increased 8 per cent this month alone and 22 per cent compared to May 2011. Total Months of Inventory now is firmly in buyer’s market territory with approximately 6.2 months of inventory.

The Residential Reference Price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 5.1 per cent to $684,100 in May 2012 from $650,800 in May 2011. We expect that high inventory levels will put pressure on prices and we foresee very little likelihood of higher prices in the near future based on current market conditions.

Sales of detached properties in May 2012 slowed to 1,184, a decrease of 25 per cent from the 1,570 detached sales recorded in May 2011, and a 5 per cent decrease from the 1,256 units sold in April 2010. The larger year/year decrease in sales compared to the attached and apartment markets is due to the higher than normal sales volumes for detached properties in May 2011. The reference price for detached properties increased 5.4 per cent from May 2011 to $1,060,000 but fell from $1,064,800 in the previous month.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,190 in May 2012, a 3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,228 sales in May 2011, and a decrease of 12 per cent compared to the 1,354 sales in May 2010. The reference price of an apartment property was up 3.0 per cent from May 2011 to $385,000.

Attached property sales in May 2012 totalled 483, a 17 per cent decrease compared to the 579 sales in May 2011, and a 12 per cent decrease from the 546 attached properties sold in May 2010. The reference price of an attached unit increased 0.4 per cent from May 2011 to $480,000.

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It’s my pleasure to read on your post here, I am sure i will gain more knowledge from here.


“Would you feel the same way if the definition was stated in terms of wanting to sell and wanting to buy?”

Once again you’re missing the main point – the number of people who want to sell or want to buy something depends on what price they want to sell or buy at.

And once again I will tell you that the number of people who want to sell equals the number of people who want to buy at the market price by definition.

This is one of the most fundamental concepts in economics.


#113 @Patiently Waiting: Skilled linguist no good. We need a cunning one.


@Patiently Waiting:
“Today in BC there are 65-thousand kids in grade 12 but there are only 41-thousand in kindergarten.”

Puts an interesting angle on the BCTF’s current militancy.


@VMD: Richmond got slammed by tsunami fears last year. It’s a wile-e-coyote off a cliff right now and guess when the prop taxes are due.

Selma Bouvier

@jumpin in:

[quote]I seriously hope this house does not belong to this couple, because they really look like hard working people who bought into a Ponzi scheme. Other possibility: they are taking care of the home for an offshore investor.[/quote]

Why do you feel sorry for them? Maybe they bought the place when it was $600k, in which case they are set up pretty nicely even with the haircut.

Besides I know of plenty of “nice hardworking people”, some of them family members, who got greedy and tried to flip. I don’t feel sorry for any of them even the ones that lost money. Do you feel sorry for people that go to the casino and blow through all their dough? Its gambling pure and simple. No sympathy. Trust me, these people don’t feel sorry for you.

Patiently Waiting

@Arthur Fonzarelli: I was thinking more about Lower Mainland. We need skilled linguists to keep tourists from wandering too far from the cruise ships and into bumtown. Mind you, tourists shouldn’t waste too much time here, because the rest of the province is far more worth visiting.

My main problem is them seeking government help. Why can’t they staff their own businesses? Maybe it has to do with the high cost of living?


SFH Disaster zones:

1。Van West
Sales YoY -47%
Lists YoY +36%
Ratio = 27% vs 67%

2。West Van
Sales YoY -59%
Lists YoY -23%
Ratio = 34% vs 63%

Sales YoY -38%
Lists YoY +23%
Ratio = 37% vs 74%

4。Van East
Sales YoY -28%
Lists YoY +26%
Ratio = 45% vs 79%

Sales YoY -21%
Lists YoY +21%
Ratio = 46% vs 70%

Sales YoY -20%
Lists YoY +11%
Ratio = 26% vs 39%

*Richmond was the first to slow down last spring, so its #’s were pretty bad last May. This May is worse.

Bailing in BC

It’s a little late and I may not be thinking straight but it looks to me like

Squamish detached listings up 67% yoy
Detached sales down 28% yoy

Attached listings up 330% yoy
Attached sales up 50%

Arthur Fonzarelli

@Patiently Waiting: “Good luck finding immigrants with fluent English who will work for tourism pay.”

I think we call them “Australians”

Yeah, and Brits and Kiwis and and…

You’re right, those people hate working for tips in Tofino and Whistler. Can’t stand it. And the guides and the business owners… I have a lot of friends in the industry and they are very happy.

What, are we all against industry or something? We have to slag every component of the export economy in order to talk down prices? I thought this was about overextended real estate, greedy lenders, bought and sold media… not a slag on every component of our economy in order to hasten our sudden demise. Don’t kids study economics anymore? Haha.


@Best place on meth: “Pastrick estimates that by 2036, prices could rise by 60 to 95 per cent from their current record levels.” That’s a whopping 2% per year! So basically rate of inflation or less with the strong possibility that prices will drop and you’ll end up losing money. Not exactly a compelling argument to buy Helmet. “Easy credit and significant speculative activity in addition to high prices are needed for a bubble to exist” Well thank goodness we don’t have easy credit in Canada. There were no sub-prime loans here of course…just non-prime which are a TOTALLY different thing. Banks have done a great job of making sure they have no risky loans by, well, off-loading all their risk to the CMHC. And no speculative activity at all! I mean those investors buying 60% of Toronto condos are… Read more »


@Patiently Waiting: “Good luck finding immigrants with fluent English who will work for tourism pay.”

I think we call them “Australians”

jumpin in

HAM story I am following this one: http://www.realtor.ca/propertyDetails.aspx?propertyId=11686128&PidKey=-428373846 On the market 2 month ago above $1,400,000. Was in the vancouver Sun as one of the few SFH below 1.5 million West of Main street (well, now there are more than 100 ! ) The people taking care of this empty house are a very nice Chinese couple, FAR from being rich. Speak a bit of English This week the house was re-listed with a $100,000 hair cut. I would not buy this eye sore for 600k, considering it needs a huge amount of TLC. I seriously hope this house does not belong to this couple, because they really look like hard working people who bought into a Ponzi scheme. Other possibility: they are taking care of the home for an offshore investor. If they are the typical HAM buyers Cam… Read more »

Patiently Waiting

Tourism “industry” looking for handouts http://www.cknw.com/Channels/Reg/NewsLocal/Story.aspx?ID=1715002 “All indication are that in this decade we will see a growth, yet again, significant growth in our BC tourism industry.” CEO Arlene Keis says they face some big hurdles in finding a future work force. “Today in BC there are 65-thousand kids in grade 12 but there are only 41-thousand in kindegarten.” That is a 40% drop for an industry reliant on youth workers. Tourism Minister Pat Bell says the province has launched an eight year strategy to find, train, and hire new workers for tourism jobs.” — It goes on about hiring workers from Eastern Canada and overseas. Good luck finding immigrants with fluent English who will work for tourism pay. Don’t think tourists will put up with barely being about to communicate with tourism workers. So the government is paying to… Read more »


@mac: “None other than Cam Good. ”

Did you get to see him taking a dump?


@UnagiDon: ….What is there in Vancouver to drive up the rents?…

Mould, mildew, rats, gangsters, rain, hobos, congestion, bed bugs, and expensive gas.


@N: “buyer’s market as a market in which real estate agents suck up to buyers. ”

A real buyers market is when the real estate agents suck off the buyers.


@Not much of a name…: …Decline – 34%….

The average Realturd can’t follow such a complex calculation. They’re scratching their head over why their Beemer just got towed from the front of a deserted open house.


@YLTNboomerang: ….“Agressively drop your price to sell now or forever be stuck with your underwater mortgage” …

Translation: flush that turd before the steam disappears!


Love the numbers paulb! Keep it comin…

Squamish townhouses bought two years ago at peak are dirt cheap now… An old 1200 sq ft Lino deluxe was almost $400k and now you get four bedroom new polished wood and concrete for the same price and 500 sq ft bigger. Houses sitting and getting cheaper by the day. But benchmark up! Aaaaaa hahaha ha ha ha!


@Dave: ….Drachen claims prices have been overvalued since 1985. If you follow the rationale behind such opinions, you end up sitting on the sidelines for decades….

And saving mucho Dinero (i.e. $’s 🙂 every month for decades. What could be better than that? Drachen was right!


“Closest “definition” you’ll come up with is sellers market = prices going up, buyers market = prices going down, balanced market = prices roughly sideways.

I think it is fairly obvious that is what it means. We all know what it means. Yes these terms were created by the RE industry as a way to spin anytime if a good time to buy, but who cares. A buyers market means prices are declining and we are in a buyers market. Go buyers market go!

Best place on meth


You were able to resist hurling an obscenity laced tirade at that treasonous piece of dogshit?

You have self control.


@N: Buyers/sellers market is pure marketing. Closest “definition” you’ll come up with is sellers market = prices going up, buyers market = prices going down, balanced market = prices roughly sideways. Nothing to do with “too many sellers” or “more people ‘trying’ to buy”, or any other meaningless marketing-speak that’s impossible to measure, or even define.


Today, I went down to the Shaw tower to return some of their equipment and who did I see walking thru the lobby? He looked familiar. Something about that mug, that spider-like sense of movement, that Italian suit. None other than Cam Good. I’m going to have to take a long, hot shower tonight.