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Vancouver’s Balancing Act

Slower out of the Gate … How 2013 Began

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. At the beginning of the year I had anticipated a quicker start to sales activity, due to the volume of transactions that Faith Wilson Group put together in November and December.

However, the natural slow-down in the market that occurs over the holiday season crept into the 2013 winter months and we really didn’t see much renewed activity until late February. The expectation of a buyer boost surrounding Chinese New Year proved to be lack luster, though not surprising given the extreme purchasing from this sector in recent years and a now slowing Chinese economy. That being said, this is a very specific market segment that appeals to a very specific market area, and despite the media hype surrounding Chinese foreign investment, it is but one segment of the buyer pool for Vancouver real estate.

Driving the Vancouver Market … What and Who?

Two key drivers of local market activity are low interest rates and lower year-over-year price points—this equates to more buying power.

Combine that with a reasonable amount of residential housing inventory, and buyers are feeling more at ease in their search to find the right property. General positivity in the Canadian economy, a strong banking system, and a sense of overall confidence in the housing market are other important drivers of activity. We must also bear in mind that a good portion of our market is locally driven, meaning that many homeowners are looking to move-up or downsize, depending on their family’s needs. Out-of-area buyers looking to relocate to Vancouver also remain confident, as they recognize the value of owning a home in one of the world’s most desirable cities, and they acknowledge the unique opportunity for increased buying power–all in all, a great time to buy for many.

Homeowner Confidence Creates a Balanced Market

In my opinion, a key factor that speaks to the stability of the market, and therefore creates the reality of same, is the confidence that homeowners have in Vancouver’s real estate market over the longer term. Homeowners who do not have a specific or urgent reason for selling their home–other than reaping the benefits of “best price”–are simply taking their homes off the market if they are not achieving that goal, or they are not putting their homes on the market in the first place. Vancouverites are very bullish on the quality of life that this city affords and know that the market, although somewhat softer now, will rebound. This homeowner confidence is a contributing factor in keeping the market stable, as the addition of new inventory is not outweighing the demand from buyers by a significant percentage. Homeowners are content to stay the course for the longer term.

Where do we go from here?

I expect the Vancouver real estate market to continue to perform at a moderate, but healthy pace, as the market shifts into more balanced and stable territory moving into the summer months.
Be sure to read on to the next sections for some unique insight from a recent RBC poll, an explanation of the three market types and as always, the most comprehensive Westside market analysis of all three property types.

Take a keen look at the neighbourhood price trends and the listing and sales activity by price segment, as they do vary on a case by case basis.

I’d be happy to discuss the statistics as they relate to your specific buying or selling goals over a coffee. Just give me a call or drop by our office.

Download Our Q1 2013 Westside Analysis Here.

Enjoy the spring!

Warm Regards,

Faith Wilson

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