Here we are in April, and with the first quarter behind us, we look forward to enjoying some much sought after sunshine and with that, all the beauty of springtime, new energy and perhaps a little excitement of what’s to come. With this seasonal anticipation comes the latest real estate results for Vancouver’s Westside. As always, we’ve compiled the most comprehensive quarterly real estate market analysis for all of our valued clients, friends and followers to review.
Here are some of the highlights from each of the three property segments:
Compared to the first quarter of 2012, total unit sales were down by 23% at the end of March. On the other hand, when compared to the previous quarter, unit sales improved by 51%, showing a renewed buyer interest from the slowdown that occurred in November and December of 2012.
In terms of home values, the first quarter has proven to be a strong rebound from the end of 2012. Based on actual sales results, the average and median sales prices increased by 17.9% and 8.7% respectively. The median sales price of $2,120,000 was the highest since early 2012, while the average sales price spiked to just above $2.6 million.
The top three neighbourhoods in terms of unit sales also fared well in value, with 3 month gains in their HPI Benchmark prices. Dunbar, Point Grey and Kitsilano experienced 2.3%, 2.3% and 5.6% increases in their benchmark prices respectively. These neighbourhoods combined for 41% of total unit sales in the first quarter.
The first quarter showed signs of a Buyer’s Market for Detached Homes, with a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 36% across the Westside. However, this varies significantly by price segment. For example, there were 62 units sold between $1.5 Million and $1.75 Million, while only 88 new listings were added in the same price segment, producing a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 70%; a very clear Seller’s Market for homes in that price range.The Buyer’s Market is more apparent in the luxury segment, with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 25% for homes priced above $3 million.
There were 124 Townhouse sales in the first quarter of 2013 on the Westside, representing a 22% drop from the same quarter last year, but a 16% increase from the 107 unit sales in the fourth quarter of 2012. Kitsilano and Fairview made up 48% of all sales activity, with 34 and 26 unit sales respectively.
Townhouses continued to sell more quickly in the first quarter, with a median days on market of 30 days, or 1 week shorter than in the previous quarter. This is nearing levels from 12 months ago, when the median days on market was at 27 days.
Townhouses on the Westside had a median sales price of $872,500 in the first quarter, remaining essentially flat since the end of 2012 and slightly above the median sales price from 12 months ago. For 15 of 17 Westside neighbourhoods, Townhouses had positive increases in their HPI Benchmark Prices compared to the previous quarter. The increases ranged from minor lifts of 0.5% and 0.7% in South Cambie and University, to a whopping 13.1% in Coal Harbour. In fact, 7 neighbourhoods had 3-month gains of more than 7%, showcasing particular strength for Townhouse owners on the Westside.
Supply and demand for Townhouses on the Westside appeared to be well-balanced in the first quarter, with an overall sales-to-new-listings ratio of 42%. The most active price segment was between $700,001 and $800,000, with 17 Townhouses sold in the first quarter. With 40 new listings added, the price segment of $800,001 to $900,000 had the largest increase in available inventory.
Overall, Condo prices have rebounded on the Westside after a downward trend closed off 2012. Both the median and average sales price pushed higher through the first quarter of 2013, reaching $458,000 and $643,696 respectively. The median sales price on the Westside now sits less than 1% shy of where it was 12 months ago, showing that condo prices, for the most part, are holding steady.
Price variance is more apparent at the neighbourhood level. The West End, which had 93 condo sales in the first quarter, had an increase of 3.5% in its HPI Benchmark Price in the past 3 months. Other high volume neighbourhoods like Downtown, Kitsilano and Fairview have remained more stable, with bumps of less than 1% in their HPI Benchmark Prices. On the other hand, condos in Yaletown are expected to sell for 4.4% less than at the end of December, and 6.3% less than 12 months ago, highlighting a great opportunity for buyers.
The most notable change in the first quarter was with the median days on market, dropping by 2 weeks to just 30 days on market. This is nearing levels that were seen back in mid-2012 when condos were selling much more quickly. This is a positive indication for sellers who are looking to market their condos in 2013.
On the Westside as a whole, the sales-to-new-listing ratio was at 38% in the first quarter, indicating a light Buyer’s Market. For condos priced below $600,000 the market was more balanced, averaging 43%. In the higher price segments, the market definitely favoured the Buyer; this was particularly notable in the luxury segment of the market, where the sales-to-new-listing ratio was just 21% for properties above $1.5 million.
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