Market Highlights For April 2024

  • Spike in new listings in April – 64% above last year.
  • Buyers slowly moving back into the market
  • Townhomes showed a surge in sales in April
  • Vancouver’s East/West divide in sales activity

With more listings, there must be more sales! Not often talked about but the term pent up supply is something that showed to be true with the surge of listings in April. New listings came on last month like we haven’t seen since the fast-paced market of 2021. With new listings in Greater Vancouver up 41% compared to March, buyers had far more to choose from in many areas. Even with the continued hesitation from the Bank of Canada with perhaps signs of that first interest rate cut coming further out, buyers have some decisions to make. Wait it out or take advantage of long sought after listings and jump on the almost 2% lower fixed rate mortgages that have been available in 2024. Almost like the Canucks waiting for the perfect shot, buyers hesitate for a rate cut that realistically doesn’t impact the mortgage product of almost all buyers since fixed rates are not tied directly to the Bank of Canada Rate. Perhaps the Bank of Canada’s first interest rate cut is a psychological move for buyers more than anything. Ask a mortgage broker, buyers are not taking up variable rate mortgages right now. That pent up demand can only wait so long.

On April 16 the federal government released their annual budget. With a host of promises on building more housing, renter protections and the biggest change proposed being the change in how capital gains are taxed. Going from 50% of the gains being taxed to two thirds being taxed on gains above $250,000 signals that wealth is the target of the Federal Liberal Government. There were ripples through the property market as some owners sought to sell properties prior to the June 25th potential change in capital gains treatment. Short term gain for long term pain. While an attempt to fund programs and perhaps housing, this will be a disincentive to sell property and limit an already tight housing market from seeing more resale homes available for buyers. Metro Vancouver and many parts of Canada do not have a speculation problem, they have a property holding problem. Homeowners focus on keeping the properties they purchase, and this tax change will only intensify that focus. And with new federal and provincial anti-flipping taxes, again, this creates more of a disincentive to sell. Wrong policies at the wrong time. For those with the ability to purchase, it will only add to the value of the property you buy. As much as government policy tries to change the market, supply and demand will ultimately determine what the values are.

And for renters, expect to see landlords selling at a greater pace and less buyers investing to provide private rental stock in the future. Today’s policies, both federally and provincially, do not bode well for the supply of homes going into the future. With less strata resale homes being built, more onerous regulations for landlords, and a signal that investment in the property market is not welcome by our governments, expect this to impact the supply of rental and resale homes.

There were 2,831 properties sold in Greater Vancouver in April after seeing 2,415 properties sold in Greater Vancouver in March and 2,070 properties sold in February this year. This was a 3% increase from the 2,741 properties sold last year in April after a year-over-year decline in March. This is the 4th straight month-over-month gain in the number of properties sold, showing more buyers being enticed to the market by greater selection and adjustments to the current fixed rate mortgages. And in looking at the sales during the month, the pace moved quicker after mid-month which should lead to May producing yet again a month-over-month gain in the number of homes sold. It’s likely we could see a repeat of the sales in last May at 3,400 – which would be the first month over 3,000 sales since then. With the added number of listings, there will be more sales. Just don’t tell the Bank of Canada after their reluctance to decrease its rate during the spring for fears of heating up the spring market.

With April sales up from last year, they were 12% below the 10-year-average after being 30% below the 10-year average in March and 23% below the 10-year-average in February. With demand increasing and even with an increase in the number of listings, multiple offers are still occurring. Some areas and product types continue to be in short supply leaving buyers with the spectre of competition. We are still not yet at balance overall in the market, but buyers have the greatest opportunity they have seen in long time – even with interest rates where they are. Detached homes and condos showed the same level of sales in April compared to last year while townhouse sales were up 16% year-over-year.

Even with the increased listings in April compared to the previous month, there are still only 4 months supply of homes overall in Greater Vancouver, which had fallen from 5 months in February and 6 months in January. Technically this is a seller’s market, but about as streaky a seller’s market as we’ve seen. It makes the Canucks look like a model of consistency. Vancouver’s West Side stayed at 6 months supply, even with a 54% increase in the number of new listings in April compared to March. Vancouver’s East Side stayed at 4 months, still a technical seller’s market, even with a 44% surge in listings compared to March and 78% more compared to April last year. It was the 22% increase in sales month-over-month that kept it at a seller’s market. Amazing how much of a divide there is within the city itself. North Vancouver continues at 3 months supply, surprising given the 82% increase in the number of new listings compared to March. Burnaby climbed to 4 months supply, on the heels of total sales lagging March and April last year, a similar story in New Westminster. Buyer’s take note in those areas! Port Moody showed a 62% month-over-month gain in sales while new listings were up 53% which pushed this market back to 3 month’s supply from 4. And the small markets of Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows remain at 2 months supply.

If it seemed like there were more for sale and open house signs out there, that’s because there were 7,229 new listings in Greater Vancouver that came out in April. This was way above last year’s total of 4,399 new listings, producing another consecutive month of year-over-year increase in new listings. And this was the highest number of new listings by month since the spring of 2021, which was a real estate market like no other we’ve seen. Is this rush of listings fuel for a significant increase in sales? It will certainly add to the number of transactions and likely keep prices relatively flat over the next few months.

The number of new listings in April were 29% above the 10-year average after March was at 9% below the 10-year average and February was right at the 10-year average. There was a feeling that many sellers were waiting for the spring market to come before listing, and that came to fruition in April. This is likely a result of pent-up supply and likely some sellers reacting to changes to government legislation for short term rental bans, tenancy changes, property flipping taxes and capital gains changes – oh my. What’s changed in real estate this year? More like what hasn’t.

There were 12,491 active listings in Greater Vancouver at month end, compared to the 10,552 actives at the end of March and 9,634 at the end of February. The count of active listings is up significantly year-over-year though, with there being nearly 3,700 more at the end of April, or 42% more than the end of April 2023. The detached market overall has moved up to 6 months supply from 5.5 in March, keeping it in a balanced market. Vancouver’s East Side is bucking this trend though, sitting with 4 month’s supply and producing some interesting multiple offer sales. Townhomes remain at 3 months supply and condos stayed at 4 months supply – keeping both in seller’s market conditions.

This is not yesterday’s real estate market. And while the numbers overall show seller’s market conditions, savvy buyers, and sellers with the help of their Dexter agent will find market activity will depend on the area and type of property. Look closely at the numbers to understand the market where you are. Absorption rates for detached were down to 33% from 44% while townhouses and condos were 44% and 42% from the previous month at 53% and 48% respectively. There simply are not enough townhomes being built in Metro Vancouver, and this will continue to be one of the most competitive segments of the market.

If April was the bell weather month for listings, will those April listings translate into May sales? Or will the continued hangover of the Bank of Canada pulling their interest rate carrot away from Buyers keep many on the sidelines until that signal comes to start buying. Ask yourself if you are a buyer though, do you want to wait for everyone else or take advantage of a market that’s finally given some choice.

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver: Total Units Sold in April were 2,831 – up from 2,415 (17%) in March, up from 2,070 (37%) in February, up from 2,741 (3%) in April 2023, down from 3,281 (14%) in April 2022, down from 5,010 (44%) in April 2021, up from 1,119 (153%) in April 2020, up from 1,850 (53%) in April 2019; Active Listings were at 12,491 at month end compared to 8,790 at that time last year (up 42%) and 10,552 at the end of March (up 18%); New Listings in April were up 41% compared to March 2024, up 64% compared to April 2023, up 15% compared to April 2022, down 10% compared to April 2021, up 201% compared to April 2020, and up 23% compared to April 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 4 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 39% compared to 47% in March 2024, 62% in April 2023, and 52% in April 2022.

Month-over-month, the house price index is up 0.8% and in the last 6 months up 0.8%.

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