It’s that time of year again! We’ve closed off the fourth quarter which means it’s time to review and reminisce about the 2012 year in Vancouver Real Estate.
Here are some of the highlights from each of the three property segments in the fourth quarter:
2012 was a year defined by lower overall sales volume. Sales in the fourth quarter were 31% below the same quarter last year. In total, 1,228 detached homes were sold on the Westside in 2012 – this is down by 38% compared to 2011.
Home values, for the most part, also ended the year below 2011 levels. The MLS® HPI Benchmark Price for a typical Detached Home on the Westside was down by 5.5% year-over-year. The median sales price reinforced this trend, settling just below the $2 million mark at $1,980,000, representing a drop of about 8%.
Several neighbourhoods bucked this trend. Kitsilano finished the year strong, with 20 units sold in the fourth quarter and a Benchmark Price of $1,436,700 – up by 1.9% from December of 2011. Quilchena led the Westside in year-over-year home value growth, with a solid gain of 4.8% to reach $2,411,500. University was the hottest neighbourhood in the fourth quarter, with its Benchmark Price jumping by 8.7% in just 3 months.
The Buyer’s Market we experienced in the third quarter has begun to shift towards being more balanced on an overall basis, as the fourth quarter ended with a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 43% – an improvement from a 30% ratio at the end of the third quarter.
When you look at the sales-to-new-listings ratio by price segment, however, you will see much greater variance. For example, for homes priced above $4,000,001, the Buyer’s Market is holding strong with an 18% ratio. On the other hand, for homes priced between $2 and $2.5 million, it is clearly a Seller’s Market with a ratio of 142%.
According to actual sales results from the fourth quarter, the median sales price for a Westside Townhouse ended the year at $879,500, representing again of 10% from Q4 2011. Conversely, the Benchmark Price for a typical Westside Townhouse ended the year 3.0% below December 2011 levels at $663,600.
In order to truly understand the value trends, Townhouses need to be considered at the neighbourhood level. Some of the lower-volume neighbourhoods, like Cambie and University, finished the year well above 2011 levels, with gains in their Benchmark Prices of 13.6% and 10.7% respectively. The highest-volume neighbourhood, Kitsilano, saw its Townhouse values drop by 13.1% to $589,800 in just the past quarter.
Like the other two categories, Townhouses experienced a more balanced market in the fourth-quarter. The sales-to-new-listings ratio was 49%, compared to 37% at the end of the third quarter. The hottest price segment was between $900,001 and $1 million with 14 units sold in the fourth quarter.
Sales volume for Westside Townhouses decreased as the year went along, with fourth quarter sales totaling 99 units. However, this represents just a 14% drop from 2011 unit sales. In total, 27% fewer Westside Townhomes sold in 2012. Townhouses were selling 5 days faster than in the previous quarter, according to the median days on market – however, this is still 10 days higher than in Q4 of 2011.
For the most part, Condo prices on the Westside remained steady in 2012. The median sales price was $470,500 in the fourth quarter, just $500 above the median sales price at the end of 2011. Benchmark Prices showed a slight downward trend, ending the year at $463,700, or 1.3% below December 2011 levels.
As always, digging down to the neighbourhood level reveals a greater range of home value trends. For example, Condo values in the Downtown Core ended the year up by 3.6% at $387,800 – Downtown also experienced the most sales volume in the fourth quarter, with 136 condos sold. Yaletown, which ended the year 3.3% below December 2011 levels, has shown more recent strength and actually says its condo values increase by 6.8% in just 3 months to reach a Benchmark price of $537,100.
The fourth quarter was quite slow in terms of Condo sales, with 566 units sold – this is 35% less than the fourth quarter of 2011. Overall, 3,343 Condos sold on the Westside in 2012, compared to 4,425 in 2011. This slowdown is strongly associated with the fact that Condos are taking longer to sell. The median days on market was 42 days at the end of 2012, compared to just 23 at the end of Q1 2012.
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