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As we predicted here recently, Grandview has become the most popular neighbourhood for detached house buyers (and likely investors) on the Eastside. In October more houses sold (13) in Grandview than in any other area, despite a price nearly $100,000 above the Eastside benchmark. We suspect the surge is due to a recent zoning change in Vancouver that allows many detached house lots to host four residential units, including laneway houses that can be stratified and sold like townhouses. In all, 93 detached houses sold on Eastside in October at a benchmark price of $1.56 million. With 245 new listings, the sales-to-new listing ratio was low 38%.
The Fraser neighbourhood was also popular with October detached buyers, and it could also be because of Vancouver’s new higher-density zoning. Fraser is known for small character houses, many built in the 1940s and 1950s on larger lots. In October 10 houses sold in this neighbourhood at a benchmark price of $1.53 million, a price 10% higher than just six months ago. Note to buyers: Fraser detached house prices in October were down 0.5% from September and are slightly below the Eastside overall benchmark.
Eastside detached house sellers should brace themselves for a busy two months to wrap up what has been a fascinating year. I believe more buyers will tweak to the fact that Eastside house prices are less than half that on the Westside and less expensive than in five suburban communities. Nearly two-dozen Eastside houses were priced at $1.3 million or less in October. Also many buyers will likely aim to purchase before tougher new federal mortgage regulations affecting all buyers come into effect on January 1. Faith Wilson Group has a mortgage professional on our award-winning team who can explain how the mortgage changes will affect selling and buying strategies. Our team also provides the Peace of Mind Guarantee for Sellers to help you handle what could be a very active early winter environment.
It is a relief to see more new listings added to the Eastside in October, even though the increase was not spectacular. The 71 fresh listings were the highest since May, but the typical new listing sold within 9 days, so many did not last long on the market. With 26 townhouse sales, the sales-to-new listing ratio was 38% in October but this disguises how active buyers were at some price points. In the $750,00 to $900,000 bracket the sales success ratio was 93%, for instance. And, at the $900,000 to $1 million range, 3 of the 6 new listings sold. It is apparent that Eastside buyers are seeking true market value, not just the lowest price.
While total townhouse sales were fairly modest in October, buyers purchased in 10 of the 12 Eastside neighbourhoods we monitor – and the busiest were also the most expensive. Mount Pleasant posted 5 townhouse sales at a benchmark price of $1.17 million, the highest price on the Eastside. There were 6 sales in the Victoria neighbourhood, where the $980,400 price was up 1.6% from a month earlier. The overall October Eastside townhouse price was up 0.47% from September, at $855,200.
If supply and demand dictates prices, then Eastside townhouse buyers are into a long ramp upwards in townhouse values. There is very little new product coming to this market that has not already been presold. A recent report showed that the time between a permit being issued and a townhouse project being completed in Vancouver is widening. In East Hastings, for example, the construction cycle for semi-detached (townhouse) projects is now 13.7 months. It is about 10 months in Renfrew Heights, Mount Pleasant and Southeast Vancouver, a pace close to the average across Metro Vancouver. The current construction level for multi-family homes is at a record level with 35,000 units now being built, but townhouses account for only 13% of these and the vast majority are pre-sold before they complete.
Where can a first-time buyer find a Vancouver condominium apartment for less than $475,000? Actually it is not that hard if they are shopping in East Vancouver. In October, 20 condos were purchased in Collingwood, at a benchmark price of $471,300; 12 were bought in the Hastings neighbourhood at a benchmark of $470,000; and Killarney also posted a sale at $433,600. While there were no condo sales through MLS in up-trending Hastings East in October, the benchmark price there is $456,600 based on the most transactions. Across all of Eastside in October 17 condo apartments were listed for $450,000 or less and a total of 51 were listed at $500,000 or below. We believe these may represent among the best housing investments in the Lower Mainland.
The Eastside benchmark condo price in October was $538,500, virtually unchanged (up 0.5%) from a month earlier. It is likely that the stable prices helped to attract buyers, since 142 condos sold in October, up 12.7% from October 2016 and the highest monthly level sales level since July. So far this year, 983 condos have sold on the Eastside, nearly 20% higher than in the first 10 months of last year. With 205 new listings, the October sales-to-listing ratio was a seller-friendly 69%, but buyers were most active at certain price points. For instance, 90% of the 20 condos priced between $900,000 and $1.25 million sold, and all of the 26 new listings at from $550,000 to $600,000 also sold. The sales success ratio, in fact, was higher for more expensive condos than for those priced at $500,000 or less. It is quite likely the higher priced apartments were larger units, perhaps an indication that more families are choosing higher value condos because it easier now to qualify than it could be after January 1 when restrictive new federal mortgage regulations come into effect.
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