Economic Indicators: Real Estate Sales Plummet 25 – 31% In December

UPDATED 04/01/13 – COMMENTS RECEIVED – A day after it was revealed by the BC Assessments Office that home values in some areas of BC are dropping, figures released by Lower Mainland realtors Thursday revealed a substantial drop in sales for December 2012. [Click On Image For Full Story]

Home sales in the Fraser Valley dropped 25.4 percent in December from 2011 and 26.6 percent from November 2012. Average prices dropped 9.5 percent from 2011 but were 3.7 percent high than in November according to figures released by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) on Thursday.

In an unusual step while the Board’s release discussed December prices and the statistics for 2012 in general it did not even mention the December drop in sales – the largest in all of 2012.

The figures were found in the statistics package that accompanies the monthly press release.

December 2012 Home Sales Figures Found Buried In the FVRD's Statistics Package

December 2012 Home Sales Figures Found Buried In the FVRD’s Statistics Package

Fraser Valley Realtors Call 2012 2nd Lowest Since 2003

The FVREB released it’s monthly report Thurssday and described 2012 as the year buyers and sellers took a breather reflecting quieter sales, an average number of new listings and prices overall remaining flat.

House For Sale Real EstateThe president of Fraser Valley’s Real Estate Board, Scott Olson, says, “The last half of 2012 was like a Mexican stand-off. Buyers kept hoping for greater price drops while sellers who didn’t have to sell just took their home off the market rather than lower their price.

“With the economy so stable, we’re not in a situation where people have to sell their home, so they’re not. It’s a very different market than in 2008 when listings were at an all-time high and sales were at historical lows.”

The Board’s Multiple Listing Service® processed 13,878 sales in 2012 compared to 15,529 the previous year, a decrease of 11 per cent, while the number of new listings remained about the same – 31,009 in 2012 compared to 31,592 in 2011. Over the year, the number of active listings for buyers to choose from dropped by 3 per cent going from 7,399 properties in December 2011 to 7,187 in December 2012.

Although 2012 ranks the second slowest year for sales in Fraser Valley since 2003, the volume of new listings finished in the middle of the pack. Scott Olson, says, “Inventory levels are down, which is a sign of a healthy market where insufficient demand leads to reduced supply. This is also keeping prices in most areas either flat or down only slightly.”

real_estateIn December, the benchmark price of a detached home in the Fraser Valley was $539,000, an increase of 1.2 per cent compared to $532,700 in December 2011 and a decrease of 1.0 per cent compared to November.

For townhouses, the benchmark price in December was $296,400, a decrease of 2.2 per cent compared to the same month last year when it was $303,000 and down 0.8 per cent compared to November. The benchmark price of apartments in December was $200,100, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to December 2011 when it was $196,900 and a decrease of 1.3 per cent compared to November.

Average prices year over year show detached homes down 3 per cent – $576,709 in 2012 compared to $594,402 in 2011. The average price of townhomes increased by 3.7 per cent, going from $316,259 in 2011 to $327,935 in 2012 and the average price of apartments decreased by 0.2 per cent going from $218,235 in 2011 to $217,843 in 2012.

See the full statistics package for December here.

Vancouver Sales Drop 31.1 Percent

Real Estate
Meanwhile the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reported Thursday that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 1,142 in December 2012, a decrease of 31.1 per cent from the 1,658 sales recorded in December 2011 and a 32.3 per cent decline compared to November 2012 when 1,686 home sales occurred.

December sales were 38.4 per cent below the 10-year December sales average of 1,855.

Total sales of detached, attached and apartment properties in 2012 reached 25,032, a 22.7 per cent decline from the 32,387 sales recorded in 2011, and an 18.2 per cent decrease from the 30,595 residential sales in 2010. Last year’s home sale total was 25.7 per cent below the ten-year average for annual Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales in the region.

The number of residential properties listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver declined 2 per cent in 2012 to 58,379 compared to the 59,539 properties listed in 2011. Looking back further, last year’s total represents a 0.6 per cent increase compared to the 58,009 residential properties listed in 2010. Last year’s listing total was 6.1 per cent above the ten-year average for annual MLS® property listings in the region.

“For much of 2012 we saw a collective hesitation on the part of buyers and sellers in the Greater Vancouver housing market. This behavior was reflected in lower than average home sale activity and modest fluctuations in home prices,” Eugen Klein, REBGV president said.

The BC Assessment report release Wednesday showed single-family homes and apartments in Abbotsford have lost value while townhouse values have, on average, remained the same.

2012 was not a good year for Abbotsford economic indicators as real estate sales dropped steadily as did stats for housing starts, building permits and employment. Other than a brief month-over-month increase in October, home sales in the Fraser Valley plummeted compared to 2011 exceeded only by the percentage decline in building permits.

*From Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Editor says:

    Brad Richert Says:

    Yes, sales did plummet in most Fraser Valley communities whether you are comparing to November 2012 or December 2011. However, so did the number of new listings. The ratios of buyers to sellers, therefore, are holding steady which is why those 25-31% decreases aren’t resulting in enormous price reductions.

    This may hurt the voluminous amount of Realtors in the Fraser Valley, as they depend on the amount of sales, but it doesn’t necessarily effect home sellers and buyers. If we see the ratio change, ie. lots of new listings in Spring, with the continuation of low sale numbers, only then will you see the market drastically shift.

    The ratio of listings to sales is more important than the number of sales.

    Lies, d***** lies, and statistics.

    Brad Richert
    (Shocking Disclosure: I’m a Realtor)

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