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There is no mystery why the Westside of Vancouver has the most expensive detached houses in British Columbia. The leafy streets, the many magnificent houses, the proximity to the city’s best schools, beaches, parks and downtown.
The undeniable cache of a Westside address. But there is another very good reason why buyers should be interested right now: Westside detached house prices posted the lowest appreciation of any Metro Vancouver neighbourhood over the past year. The November benchmark price, at $3.53 million was virtually unchanged (up 1.5%) from the same month last year. With sales down 22% and listings up 15% from a year ago, the Westside offers a rare buyers advantage.
The Westside welcomed 143 new listings for detached houses in November, down from October but higher than the 122 listed in November 2016. With 53 sales – the lowest level in 11 months – the sales-to-new-listing ratio was a low 37%. Don’t let the overall benchmark price deflect you: 21 buyers purchased a Westside detached house in November for $2.75 million or less and 6 of these paid less than $2.25 million. The real opportunity, thought is at the top of the market. In November, 48 new listings were priced at above $5 million and only 8 of them sold. With new listings now on the market for a median of 34 days before a sale, we suspect some detached house sellers are much more flexible than a few months ago.
It is best to buy a Westside detached house before January 1 when tougher new mortgage regulations come into affect that could reduce the ability to buy the house you really want. The new rules will require that all buyers qualify at rates 2% higher than what is available, enough to cut average buying power by 17%.
It is hard to fathom that just three years ago the benchmark price of a Westside townhouse was $507,000. Prices have risen 60% since then as townhouses became the most scarce home commodity in Vancouver.
In November, the Westside townhouse benchmark reached a fresh high of $1.26 million and was still appreciating, up nearly $70,000 from three months ago, and 13.4% higher than a year earlier. The demand is high, the inventory too low. In November, the sales-to-new listing ratio was 75% for townhouses priced from $1.5 to $1.7 million and 50% for townhouse priced above $3 million, to give an indication of what is happening. There is a search for quality as more buyers recognize the inherent value and startling appreciation in a Westside townhouse investment.
Only 61 townhouses were added to the Westside, down from 86 from October to the lowest level since February. In some neighbourhoods there were no new listings at all. If you are a townhouse owner thinking of listing in Yaletown, the West End, Shaughnessy or Marpole, we believe you would receive very fast action and a satisfying price in the next few weeks. The typical new listing for a townhouse in November was on the market for only 12 days before it sold, but some moved even faster than that.
Vendors should not be lulled into a false sense of security, however. On the Westside, 61% of the new listings for townhouses in November didn’t sell. After more than 20 years of serving the Westside, Faith Wilson Group is experienced with staging a home, with powerful local and international marketing, and with setting the precise price that leads to a quick and satisfying sale. Our team, in fact, is recognized for selling homes faster and for higher prices than the industry average.
Eighty Westside condominium apartments sold in November at a benchmark price of $1 million for more. That is simply amazing. It is not uncommon to see nice condos selling for $1,000 per square foot, and to see multiple bids at that level.
Westside condo buyers are probably the most sophisticated in Canada and they scour through the offerings. Some are investors or first-time buyers searching for the lowest price; others are seeking a comfortable long-time home for a young family; others are looking for pure luxury living, perhaps with an ocean view. And in November, apparently, most were finding just what they wanted: 14 buyers paid $500,000 or less for a Westside condo; a majority were buying in the mid-range of from $700,000 to $900,000, and luxury buyers had a selection of 30 condo apartments listed at $2 million or more.
It was not hard to find the Westside neighbourhoods with the most condo apartment sales in November because they were all within a few blocks of each other. Downtown, with 71 sales at a benchmark of $740,700; the West End, where 44 condos sold at a benchmark of $673,700; and Yaletown, where 43 buyers paid a benchmark price of $847,300, were the clear leaders.
Nearly 10 condo apartments sold every day in November on the Westside. We expect that pace to quicken into the last month of 2017 as many buyers rush to close before the New Year brings tougher mortgage eligibility regulations, especially for investors.
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