"Last month sales of detached homes, townhouses and condos were down 30% from the same month last year. September sales were also well below historical averages in the Greater Vancouver area. And although prices aren't falling at the same pace, sellers are learning it takes patience.
Look around and you'll see a lot of for sale signs in Greater Vancouver's suddenly very cold real estate market. It's a buyer's market with far too few buyers and far too many sellers. In fact sales have dropped so profoundly, they're almost 42% below the 10 year average...
Home sales last month fell a big 32% from a year ago. They're even down 8% from August and August was already gone into the record books as the 2nd lowest sales month in 14 years...
To put it simply, just six months ago for every 100 properties on the market 19 would sell in a reasonable time frame. Last month that dropped to just 8."
"While sales have been dropping the same can't be said about prices, at least not to the same extent. Benchmark prices for a detached home in the Lower Mainland actually climbed, but only by half a percentage point. Townhouse prices declined by 2.7% and apartments were down 0.5%. And if you look at the five year trend you can see real estate prices in Greater Vancouver peaked in May this year and are now headed lower."
The picture they paint is of a market holding firm.
But now even some in the the media are starting to question this data.
Organized real estate is unable, it seems, to admit the glory days may be behind it.
This month’s gem comes from the Toronto Real Estate Board: It complained September didn’t have enough working days — too many weekends.
I always thought people bought homes on weekends, but it seems the transactions are registered during the week.
“The number of transactions was down 21% in comparison to September 2011,” said TREB in a release. “However, it is important to note that there were two fewer working days in September 2012.”
This logic has produced a new measure from TREB: Sales were down only 12.5% — not the actual 21% — from a year ago on a “working-day basis.”
Vancouver’s real estate board likes to tout what it calls the MLS HPI (home price index) composite benchmark price for all residential properties. It was down 0.8% to $606,100 in September from a year ago and off 2.3% over the past three months.
Doesn’t sound too bad.
But when you pull out actual sales data, you find year-over-year prices in August in Canada’s most expensive housing market were off 6.9%. For the first two-thirds of the year, prices fell 7.3%.
The decline is happening; it’s the severity that seems to be under dispute.
Journalism needs to start scratching the surface and informing Canadians on what is really going on in real estate and how it is about to impact the economy.
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