The Metro Vancouver housing market experienced below average sales activity and moderate price declines in 2019. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported sales of detached, attached and apartment homes reached 25,351 in 2019, which is a 3% increase from sales recorded in 2018, and a 30% decrease from 2017. Last year’s sales total was 20% below the region’s 10-year sales average. Benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver finished the year at $1,001,000, a 3% decrease compared to December 2018.
“Home buyer confidence was a factor throughout the year. In the first quarter, many prospective buyers were in a holding pattern, waiting to see how prices would react to the mortgage stress test, new taxes, and other policy changes,” said Ashley Smith, REBGV president. “Confidence started to return in the summer, and we saw above average sales in the final quarter of 2019.”
Conversely on the East coast, Toronto’s average selling price for 2019 was $819,319, up 4% compared to $787,856 experienced in 2018 and total sales amounted to 87,825, a 13% increase from last year.
Toronto Real Estate Board President Michael Collins reported 2019 sales figures were on par with the median annual sales results experienced over the past decade. “We certainly saw a recovery in sales activity in 2019, particularly in the second half of the year. As anticipated, many home buyers who were initially on the sidelines moved back into the marketplace starting in the spring. Buyer confidence was buoyed by a strong regional economy and declining contract mortgage rates over the course of the year.” said Mr. Collins.
In Montreal the year 2019 ended visibly as a seller’s market as the city’s hot property market continues, particularly on the Island of Montreal where the scarcity of supply of single-detached homes compared to demand is undeniable. Consequently, the amount of time needed to absorb the inventory of properties is approximately 4 months.
“The real estate market in the Montreal CMA continues to stand out from that of the rest of the province,” said Charles Brant, economist and director of the QPAREB’s Market Analysis Department. “In addition to registering record sales in 2019, selling times were down sharply and price increases were sustained. By property category, condominiums stood out most in terms of the number of transactions, but plexes registered the largest price growth,” he added.
Of all the property types, condominiums in Montreal stood out with particularly tight market conditions, falling from 10.5 months of inventory to 3.1 months between 2016 and 2019. The speed of this decrease implies a significant imbalance has arose over a short period of time.
“Sales concluded above the asking price increased in certain areas and became more widespread in the Montreal CMA for all three property categories,” noted Mr. Brant. “Condominiums are increasingly exposed to situations of multiple offers, with sales being concluded at a price higher than the asking price. This phenomenon has become increasingly prevalent in the large areas on the periphery of the Island of Montreal and has even become endemic in many neighbourhoods on the Island of Montreal,” he added
This trend doesn’t appear to disappear as in 2019 the number of listings has decreased for the 4th consecutive year. As a result, market conditions now give sellers a distinct advantage in negotiations as Montreal’s property market activity and price continue to increase.
Sources: Toronto Real Estate Board Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers
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