Vancouver home sales plummet in ‘starved’ inventory market

VANCOUVER — The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says home sales in January slowed from a record pace last year as the number of available properties fell.

The B.C. board says home sales totaled 2,285 last month, down nearly 5% from 2,389 in January 2021 and down 15% from 2 688 in December 2021.

However, the council says sales last month were 25.3% above January’s 10-year average.

The council also saw 4,170 new listings last month, down nearly 7% from last January’s 4,480 homes, but more than double December 2021, when 1,945 homes were listed.

“This market is completely starved of inventory and it’s creating excessive bidding wars, another run-up in house prices. To put it bluntly, it’s a disaster out there,” said Steve Saretsky, a Vancouver-based realtor, during an interview Wednesday.

He said a big factor behind the lack of listings is potential home sellers’ “fear” of becoming a buyer in the market.

“[Sellers] look at MLS listings online and say they have nothing to buy. Their biggest fear is that they sell out and what if it takes [them] six to seven months to find a property they want to buy? “, did he declare.

“And the way the housing market is changing – in six or seven months you might be looking at a 10, 15, 20% increase [in home prices] and all of a sudden you’ve lost some purchasing power.

The benchmark price for all residential properties in the area hit more than $1.2 million last month, up 18.5% from last January and 2% from December.

Board economist Keith Stewart says market conditions remain tight as there is a lack of supply and many people are taking advantage of low interest rates.

“Our listing inventory on MLS is less than half of what would be optimal to start the year. As a result, hopeful homebuyers have limited choice in the market today,” he said. he said in a statement.

“This trend is causing fierce competition for a limited number of homes for sale, which, in turn, is driving up prices.”

– With files from BNN Bloomberg