A Near Record Month of November 2009 for Vancouver Real Estate Market

What a month we had in November. Traditionally, November is when the market slows as we approach the holidays. While this month was no exception (we saw month to month declines in comparison to October) what was shocking was the explosion of activity in comparison to November 2008.

The average home in Greater Vancouver rose 12.4% over the past year.  In the City of Vancouver we blew this average out of the water. November 2009 saw detached homes up 24.61%, attached homes up 16.73% and apartments up 11.51% (all in comparison to the previous year).

These numbers mask, to some degree the fact that we saw (nearly) across the board DECLINES in prices month over month. Only detached homes on the Eastside (+0.82%) and apartments on the Westside (+0.51%) saw increases.

November 2009 was the third strongest (measured by the number of sales) on record. There were enormous increases year over year (+292.75%) in Sales. However, Listings rose only modestly (+23.79%) which saw the number of Active listings drop off (-45.43%).

The official line

“This unseasonably high level of demand can be attributed in large part to low interest rates, but it also speaks to the diverse range of housing options available in Greater Vancouver,” Scott Russell, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “Prospective homebuyers today have more options at different price levels than ever before.”

“We are experiencing a brisker than normal market for this time of year, although we have begun to see a reduction in the number of homes listed for sale, which is normal as we head into the holiday season,” Russell said.

The foggy crystal ball

I expect that we will continue to see the market slow down in the next few weeks. This is a seasonal effect that occurs every year as realtors take vacations and buyers and sellers focus more on friends and family than on real estate.

What is unclear is what will happen in the New Year. Will the torrid pace seen in 2009 continue on into 2010? Will the Olympic party effectively put the Vancouver real estate market on hold until March 2010? There are many questions, but few obvious answers.

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