March 2019 Real Estate Market Update

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released a stats report saying that March 2019 home sales were 46% below the 10-year March sales average and was the lowest total for the month in three decades.

Home sale is the number of transactions that took place in a month.

March 2019: Total 1727 home sales
March 2018: Total 2517 home sales
February 2019: Total 1484 home sales

Although sales in March was down from March last year or any month of March since 1986, home sales were up 16.4% from February 2019.

Below is a graph of homes sales in Greater Vancouver since 2005.

The number of home sales go up and down every year as activities pick up in the Spring and cool down as year end approaches. We can see that home sales are picking up a little bit since the beginning of this year.

The sales number does not take into consideration of inventory. The sales to actives ratio is calculated by dividing home sales number by the number of active listings on the market in order to measure the balance of supply and demand.

For example, in March 2019 in Greater Vancouver for all property types, the sales to active ratio is:

1,727 home sales / 12,774 active listings = 0.135 or 13.5%

In another word,

12,774 active listings / 1,727 home sales = 7.4 months of inventory available

Some statisticians say that it is considered a buyer’s market when there are more than 6 months of inventory available in a give time. A balanced market has 4-6 months of inventory available and it’s a seller’s market when there’s less than 4 month’s inventory available.

From the graph below, we see the sales to active ratio since 2005 for the same time frame as the sales number graph above. We have not see such a strong seller’s market as the one we experienced in 2016 in ten years. The best buyer’s market was during the world financial crisis in 2009 (data available from 2005).

Sales to active listing ratio for March 2019 in Greater Vancouver fro the following property types:

Sources: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

REBGV president Ashley Smith said “Housing demand today isn’t aligning with our growing economy and low unemployment rates. The market trends we’re seeing are largely policy induced. For three years, governments at all levels have imposed new taxes and borrowing requirements on to the housing market.”

“What policymakers are failing to recognize is that demand-side measures don’t eliminate demand, they sideline potential home buyers in the short term. That demand is ultimately satisfied down the line because shelter needs don’t go away. Using public policy to delay local demand in the housing market just feeds disruptive cycles that have been so well-documented in our region.”

To read the March 2019 stats report from the Real Estate Board, click here.

October 2017 Real Estate Market Update

Home buyer demand continues to differ based on housing type

Click on the above to read the News Release from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Summary below:

  • August 2017 home sales were 20% higher than the 10-year August sales average.
  • September 2017 home sales were 13% above the 10-year September sales average.
  • Sales-to-active listings ratio for August 2017 was 35% for all property types
  • Sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2017 was 30% for all property types
  • Sales-to-active listings ratio for September 2017:
    • 14.6% detached homes (balanced market – slowed upward pressure on price)
    • 42.3% for townhomes (seller’s market – upward pressure on price)
    • 60.4% for apartments (seller’s market – upward pressure on price)


Buyer demand continues for Townhomes and Apartment condos. We find the demand for single family home is still there, especially for homes that were well priced.

Since it’s rapid increase this January, we are seeing the Sales-to-Active ratios (for all property types) started to decrease after reaching its peak so far this year in May 2017 (see graph below).

The HPI benchmark price for all property types in Greater Vancouver continued to rise, although at a slower rate, since the ratio remained in the seller’s market.

According to First National Financial LP “Market watchers appear to be taking the same “wait-and-see” approach to interest rate hikes as the Bank of Canada” Read full article here. Summary below:

  • Economic data that support further interest rate increase:
    • Employment numbers show 10th straight month for gains
    • Wage growth popped up by 2.2% in September after months of sluggish growth. Hourly average wage reaching $26.36.
  • The two key factors that support “wait-and-see” approach:
    • July GDP was flat which forecast a slowing for 2nd half of the year
    • Household debt remained a concern and a determining factor in future rate increase.

The August GDP numbers will come out at the end of this month and they will help determine if there is a trend.