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It's Official: We're in a Buyer's market (I've been trying to tell you this for 6 months)

Blog by Shaun Kimmins | July 15th, 2010

Finally, we can move on from the safe, milky-toast descirption of our market as a "Balanced Market". It has now become impossible to ignore that we are in a BUYER'S MARKET and we can all get on the same page! I suspect that some sellers might still choose to ignore reality but it's going to be really difficult.

I can't tell you what a relief it is to me that The BC Real Estate Association has finally acknowledged this fact. Since January 2010 I have been meeting and telling prospective listing clients that the market has changed, especially in Downtown Vancouver and more specifically, in Coal Harbour. (the internationally-driven luxury condo market tends to act as a leading indicator for Vancouver's Real Estate Market.)

Here's what BCREA says:

Vancouver, BC – July 15, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 23 per cent to 7,722 units in June compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province declined 5 per cent in June from May 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 8 per cent to $499,908 in June compared to the same month last year. 


“Market conditions have shifted from balanced conditions at the start of the year to a buyers’ market this summer,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. In June, there was 9.3 months of supply on the market given current sales activity, up from 5.6 months in January 2010. “Tighter credit conditions for homes with secondary suites and low equity home buyers have moderated consumer demand,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 31 per cent to $21.4 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 17 per cent to 42,343 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 13 per cent to $504,281 over the same period.

I know it's easy for Sellers to assume that as realtors, all we want is a fast sale, but the fact is, in a downward-trending market, a fast sale is your best sale and your best chance to hold on to more of your equity. if you trust your realtor, listen to them - they will save or idealy make you money. If you don't trust your realtor, fire them and find one you trust. Unless you are selling 50 properties per year, you are probably not qualified to tell your realtor what the market is doing. Even if you have lots of previous experience, eomploy a realtor who you trust and who specializes in the area in which your property is and heed their advice. Area expertise and focus is key. If your realtor doesn't list in your area regularly, how can they possibly have their finger on the local pulse? The answer is, they can't. There are simply too many markets withing markets in Vancouver to know all or even many of them.

Listing inventory is back up, way up and that means softer prices. If you are looking at Downtown condos or more specifically, Coal Harbour condos, then this chart is overly-generous. We are looking at far more inventory in most price categories in the condo sector. Remember the rule of thumb for inventory:

*Inventory Rule of Thumb

In Vancouver’s real estate market, 0-4 months of inventory = upward price pressure, 4-8 months of inventory = flatter pricing and anything over 8 months of active inventory = downward price pressure. I am seeing between 10 and 20 months of inventory in most price categories.

The bottom line

If you are thinking of selling, you must be priced right and marketed by an area expert. Contact Shaun when you are thinking of selling your luxury Coal Harbour condo and get the straight goods.