While there has been some angst over a sudden November slump in detached housing sales in Richmond, developers are busy buying and bidding up house prices along arterial roads. Richmond council has zoned such routes, such as Stevenson Highway, for townhouses.
Recently a 10-house assembly was sold for $22.7 million as a site for 43 townhouses that will likely sell for more than $1 million each. Faith Wilson Group has deep experience in land assemblies and can provide advice for both sellers and buyers in what can be a complicated and lengthy process.
November detached house sales in Richmond dipped 19.1% compared to November 2016 to just 55, the lowest monthly level this year. There were 207 listings, also the lowest level in 2017, and the typical new listing sold in an average of 38 days. The benchmark price was $1.67 million, virtually unchanged from six months ago. We see this as the quiet before the storm. Detached housing sales have been tracking lower since the summer and the Richmond market now appears perfectly set up for buyers to take advantage.
Richmond has a relatively healthy inventory of townhouses, which is rare in Metro Vancouver, and fortunate, because not a lot of new townhouses are coming. In the third quarter, for example, 67 new townhome projects were being marketed across all of Metro, but there is a grand total of just 15 completed and unsold new townhomes in the entire region, down 94% from the five-year average.
In November Richmond had 148 new listing for townhouses and 72 of them sold. But the resulting 49% sales-to-new-listing ratio disguises what is happening. The sales ration was above 90% at multiple price points. Most popular was from $700,000 to $750,000 with 14 listings and 13 sales. All of the 6 new listings at from $1 million to $1.1million also sold, as did 2 out of three listed at more than $1.5 million. The typical new listing sells within 12 days, another indication of the robust demand. Buyers are urged to be shopping now while a wide selection of Richmond townhouses are still available, and while the overall benchmark price remains stable at $805,500, virtually unchanged in three months.
As of third quarter there were only 24 newly completed and unsold low-rise, wood-frame condominiums available across Metro Vancouver – and 15 of these were in a single Richmond building. It is an indication of the explosive demand for condo apartments, and Richmond is in the thick of it. So far this year 1,227 condos have sold in Richmond, 11.5% higher than in 2016. Even with a 6.4% sales dip to 147 in November, compared to a year earlier, Richmond condos sold at a pace of more than five a day.
The typical new listing sold within 9 days, the quickest in at least six months.
There is a sense of urgency because many condo buyers want to close on a sale before January 1 when tighter new mortgage regulations will make it harder for many borrowers to qualify. The latest stress test requires that buyers qualify at mortgage rates 2% higher than what is readily available. We advise buyers to not panic. Faith Wilson Group includes a mortgage professional who can explain it all, but buyers should know they don’t have to pay the higher rates, just show that they can afford it. As well, there are options such as longer amortizations and alternative lenders, like Credit Unions, that are not subject to the new rules.
Brighouse, with 69 sales, West Cambie with 24 and Brighouse South, where 17 condos sold at a benchmark price of $551,000, were the most popular neighbourhoods for Richmond condo buyers in November. The least expensive condo sold in South Arm at $279,100; the most expensive in East Richmond at a benchmark price of $732,800.
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