In this blog, we'll be touching base again on the demand for housing in the Greater Vancouver Region. As stated in the previous blog, the demand for housing has slightly outpaced the supply for it. In addition, we will be delving into the current status of the real estate market.

The real estate market is cyclical in which several factors such as interest rates, employment growth, investment growth, construction and immigration influence this cycle. These factors affect whether it is a buyer's, seller's or balanced market.

[1] A buyer's market is when the housing supply is greater than the demand. This generally results in housing prices dropping over a period of time due to the fact that home owners may be eager to sell their property.

[2] On the other end of the spectrum is the seller's market. It is when interest rates are low so there are many qualified buyers but not many homes for sale. In this case, buyers must make quick decisions in order to secure a property due to the housing scarcity. Buyers also face competition with multiple offers on the home they are interested in buying and consequently, housing prices may rise.

[3] Lastly, a balanced market is where there supply and demand are fairly equal to one another (not necessarily at equilibrium though). 

Ray Harris stated, "[o]ur market today sits on the cusp between a balance and seller's market". To measure market activity, the Sales-to-Listings ratio is often utilized. This tool measures the balance between demand and supply and the market categorization is based off of the ratio.

-- A ratio of three sales for five listings means we are in a seller's market (when the ratio is greater than 55%).
-- A ratio of less than seven sales for every 20 listings means we are in a buyer's market (when the ratio is less than 35%).
-- A ratio between 35 - 55% would be considered a balanced market.

 *Market Type Sales Ratio as per the Real Estate Board of Vancouver & most industry analysts.

Source: REBGV Market Type

     
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The real estate industry is a key economic driver in BC. Despite the preconceived notions of Vancouverites, the Greater Vancouver housing market is seeing demand for housing slightly outpace the supply. We continue to see incremental gains in home values, depending on the neighbourhood and property type. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), residential property sales in the Greater Vancouver area has reached 3,061 in July alone, making it the fourth consecutive month that the Greater Vancouver market has exceeded 3,000 sales (McLeod, 2014). Prior to this upsurge in sales, the housing sales have not surpassed this sales mark since June 2011. 

The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) measures home price trends and home price inflation/deflation in residential markets within territories of participating real estate boards in Canada (MLS, 2014). The HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is presently at $628,000. For a single family detached unit, the benchmark price is sitting at $980,500. An overview of the property types and their benchmark price in their respective neighbourhood can be found here: MLS Home Price Index. Benchmarks represent a typical property within each market. 

All in all, the housing market in the Greater Vancouver region has been steadily picking up and although supply is continually increasing, the demand for housing has slightly outpaced supply. 

Below you will find the Residential Average Price in the Greater Vancouver region. As you can see, there has been quite some fluctuation over the past 4.5 years. Residential median prices in July 2014 are sitting at around $805,061. 

 Source: The Canadian Real Estate Association

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