Over the past decade, Greater Vancouver saw one of the most heated housing markets in the country, with conditions fi rmly in favour of the seller during the vast majority (55 per cent) of the 11-year period.
The stretch running from 2001 to 2007 was even tighter, when purchasers vied for properties 76 per cent of the time, with little relief from the supply crunch. Buyers took the helm in only 13 per cent of the decade, while balance characterized the remainder.
In fact, all but three of the last 11 years measured up as seller’s markets. It took a full-scale recession to ease conditions signifi cantly; with 2008 the only year buyer’s ruled Vancouver real estate. As a result, it comes as little surprise that returns from 2000 to 2010 in this housing hot spot exceeded the national average. Values rose from $295,978 in 2000 to $675,853 in 2010—for a compounded rate of return of 7.8 per cent. Canada earned a 6.8 per cent return over the same duration. Its price growth helped position the city in the
top tier, out-performing two-thirds of Canadian markets, ranking six nationally and fi fth in Western Canada for return on investment.
While balanced conditions provided some relief for purchasers in Greater Vancouver in 2010, the market was relatively short-lived. Seller’s conditions began to take shape once again in the latter months of 2010, with the sales-to-new listings ratio reaching 82 per cent in November and 110 per cent in December.
The demand for single-family homes, in particular, picked up steam in early January. Builders and new immigrants are snapping up properties two at a time, in cash purchases, for future development. Most of these homes are older, on larger lots, and will be torn down to make way for custom-built homes. With competition underway once again, multiple offers have reemerged, especially for homes that represent land value in well-established neighbourhoods.
Activity was solid out of the gate in Vancouver West, East Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond and the North Shore. Most sought after are single-family homes, priced between $1 million and $2 million. Days on market has been falling steadily, as move-up purchasers re-enter the market en masse.
In Canada’s priciest market, affordability remains top of mind, with reasonably-priced units in good neighbourhoods snapped up quickly. Momentum continues unabated in the upper end, although confidence is building at all price points, setting the stage for a solid 2011.