As most people living day to day in real estate, from Realtors to active buyers and seller, fully expected, April 2023 statistics showed another month of increased home values throughout the region among all property types. January does seem to be the proverbial “bottom” of the market, with values in both Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley seeing 3 months of escalating benchmark prices.
The following report is handcrafted by Brad Richert (no AI here!).
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), which represents communities west of Surrey and Mission, posted Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark home values of $1,170,000 (-7.4% cp April 2022), up from $1,143,900 in March, and distancing itself from the low of $1,111,400 in January. Meanwhile, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, representing communities from North Delta to Abbotsford and Mission, posted an HPI value of $992,000 (-16.8% cp April 2022) across all housing types. This is a substantial increase from $965,100 in March and $942,200 in January. Keep in mind, these are NOT averages (a problematic metric). The HPI Benchmark Value follows a hypothetical “typical” home in the area across time, which is the best representative of home values in the region, if, at times, a conservative figure.
Sales were actually fairly flat in the Fraser Valley, with 1,491 in March and 1,488 in April. However, the pressure is coming from the lack of inventory, as the number of new listings actually declined from 2,295 in March to 2,224 in April. However, when you break down the number of active listings by property type, you start to really see where the pressure is on buyers. The number of active single family home listings has increased from 1,638 in January to 1,711 in April. For apartments, there isn’t much difference between the 1,074 January figure and 1,041 April statistic. However, the number of active townhomes has decreased from 761 at the start of 2023 to 660 by the end of April. Considering this is the highly sought after “missing middle” sweet spot for many Fraser Valley buyers, this is likely to result in townhome prices to continue spiking upward.
ABBOTSFORD DETACHED HOMES
The Abbotsford detached home market experienced one of the sharpest market corrections in the region in 2022. After reaching a Benchmark peak value of $1,524,200 in March of 2022, values plummeted to a low of $1,053,700 by January 2023. However, since then, prices have been rebounding. Although the benchmark value is still -22.6% compared to this time last year, the benchmark value has risen to $1,137,700, which is a strong rebuild for just 3 months.
These sales prices are due to the sharp demand shown by a monthly increase of sales from 20 in January to 93 in March and 86 in April. Meanwhile, the number of active listings has stagnated since December, ranging from 238. Predictably, the average days on market has gone from 50 in December to under half of that, 23, in April.
Although not experiencing the same sort of drastic correction as single family homes did in 2022, the benchmark value for townhomes in Abbotsford fell from $763,500 in their June 2022 peak to a low of $607,000 in February. Since then, prices have remained stagnant, seeing very little increase (now up to $609,300), but at least the bleeding has stopped.
The number of townhome sales was, as with other areas, low throughout the Winter months, ranging from 23 to 30 sales per month. However, March sales increased to 48 and April further to 54. This has been offset by an increasing number of new listing, which seems to be balancing out the market. The good news for sellers is that the average days on market has declined rapidly from 54 in February to 29 in April.
Finally, we have Abbotsford’s apartment market, which had both a slower rise and a slower fall than the other two housing types. April 2022 was the peak of the market at $498,500, which fell to $393,100 by January 2023. February didn’t really see prices rise, but they didn’t decline either. However, a sharp increase in sales with reduced inventory saw March and April benchmark values jump significantly, now at $425,300, which is only -14.5% lower than this time last year. If these prices keep rising at this pace, I would expect them to surpass the 2022 peak this summer – but we never know.
BURNABY DETACHED HOMES
Detached homes in Burnaby are on the rise. The 2021-2022 boom halted in an April 2022 peak at $2,199,200 for the “typical” benchmark value home. While there certainly was a slow correction, it was nothing like what was seen further east. January 2023 appears to be the low point for Burnaby’s correction, at $1,877,300. However, the benchmark value edged back over the $2 million threshold in April, meaning values are only -9.0% lower than they were last April.
Sales in Burnaby have almost tripled since January, from a low of 25 to 74 in April. Meanwhile the declining inventory levels are putting increasing pressure on thirsty buyers. The average days on market for Burnaby’s detached homes have fallen from 54 in January to 22 in April.
Townhomes in Burnaby are not exactly a large market, with only 438 sales in all of 2022. That said, if you own one or are looking for one, the narrative has not really been the standard one that we’ve seen over the past half year or so. While most other housing types in other cities, including townhomes, didn’t “bottom out” until January or February of this year, Burnaby’s townhomes found their footing a bit earlier – with a low point in November of 2022. The benchmark value did peak later than most in 2022, in May, at $1,002,700, and fell too $895,900. Prices then flatlined and/or slightly increased until January before starting an “early spring”. However, this has led to some seemingly tempered expectation, as Burnaby’s towhomes have not seen a rapid incline in prices, instead following a more subtle rise. As of April 2023, the benchmark price has rise to $939,700, which is only -4.4% below values this time last year. It will be interesting to see if Burnaby prices start rising more sharply like the rest of the region, or if it continues a more incremental approach.
As far as sales go, the city saw a low of 16 units sold in January, rising steadily until the most recent statistic of 54 in April. Meanwhile, the number of active listings have held steady, ranging only slightly since December, with 70 to 84 homes available for buyers. Like most other area, the average days on market has also shifted dramatically, from a high of 43 back in December to today’s 23 days.
Burnaby’s apartment condo market held up through the 2022 housing correction quite well. In May 2021, the benchmark Burnaby apartment was valued at $671,400. One year later, the market peaked at $783,1000 before slowly declining to a low of $724,600 in December 2022. Prices have risen over the past 4 months, with the benchmark value now at $764,300, just -2.0% under this time last year. Based on the trajectory, it is very likely that Burnaby apartments are likely to hit an all time high within the next month.
Active listings have risen only incrementally since December, and actually declined in April, compared to March. Meanwhile the number of sales have skyrocketed from a low of 80 units in December ( the lowest since December 2020), to 284 in April. The average days on market for Burnaby apartments has fallen from 42 days in January to 19 days, further signalling the strong sellers market.
CHILLIWACK DETACHED HOMES
Before getting into Chilliwack’s analysis, I must make the important note that for Chilliwack, I do not use HPI Benchmark values, as they are not accessible. Instead, I have selected to use average home values. While problematic for a true measure of a market, especially as smaller market like Chilliwack, I find the average value more helpful than home price medians. However, as one can see, just a couple of large sales can easily skew the data, especially in months that only have 17-19 sales (like November-December).
What the average sales price do show is a trend that follows the rest of the Fraser Valley to the west. The highest price point was $1,152,768 in February 2022 with lows just shy of $800,000 by Fall/Winter. There is an anomaly in October 2022, but most of the months show and average home sale floating around that $800k price point. In the last two months, the average has jumped by $50-70,000.
The sales to active listing ratio is probably a better indicator to show just how demand/supply has shifted in favour of sellers in Chilliwack. From June 2022 until January 2023, there was only one month that saw the ratio of homes sold to listings go over 10%, indicating a strong buyers market. Even that one month – November – was only 11.2%. However, February jumped to 19.8% suggesting a temporary balanced market before heading into a strong sellers market territory of 37.8% in March and 30.7% in April.
CHILLIWACK TOWNHOMES & APARTMENTS
The sales data for Chilliwack townhomes is just too small for a true analysis. For example, there were only 28 sales in Q4 2022. Therefore, the average sale price trend isn’t really an indicator of much. However, the sales to listing ratio of 38.8% is important for buyers and sellers to understand that close to 2 in every 5 listings are selling each month, so come prepared to be competitive if you’re a buyer.
Apartments are even hotter. Although the sales to listing ratio dipped down to the 10-12% mark in summer 2022, the ratio remained fairly balanced over the remainder of the year, between 17-20%, posting moderate sales activity. However, this went from a balanced market to a strong sellers market pretty much over night by February 2023, with 25% of homes selling. This ratio jumped to 57.6% in March and 44.4% in April.
COQUITLAM DETACHED HOMES
As is the common story overall, detached home prices in Coquitlam also rose for the third straight months. Seeing a bottom of $1,689,900 in January, there has been a slow climb to $1,747,900 (-10.9% compared to April 2022). This is still significantly below the April 2022 peak of $1961,800, but the trend is positive for homeowners.
The number of sales have more than triples since January’s meagre 20 units to 66 in April. The lack of inventory has led to a radical jump in the sales to listing ratio, which was in the basement in January at 10.4%, but is now at 35.5%. Assuming this demand continues to favour sellers this strongly, we can expect to see further increases in pricing through the summer.
Townhome prices have had a more pronounced rebound than their detached home counterparts. A townhome that sold for $1,149,300 in April 2022 would have sold for $975,600 in January 2023. However, this value has bounced back quite rapidly over the last 3 months and is now back over the million dollar threshold at $1,037,600.
With the sales to active listing ratio jumping from 6.5% in January (there were only 4 townhome sales) to 70% in February, and 48-56% in March and April, buyers are back and are struggling to find inventory. Coquitlam townhomes are back to being a very hot commodity and prices will continue to rise quickly if the inventory remains this low.
Apartment condo values in Coquitlam have been on the rise since the December 2022 low of $653,300. They are now back up to $675,300, which is only -6.6% below the April 2022 peak.
The number of sales have increased from 35 in December to 106 in March and 99 in April. The number of sales is outpacing the new supply, which is leading to declining inventory levels. This is well represented through the sales to listing ratio more than doubling from 18-20% in December/January to 51-52% in March/April.
LANGLEY (CITY & TOWNSHIP) DETACHED HOMES
After a steady rise through 2021, detached home prices in Langley peaked in March 2022 at $1,884,500. They experienced a significant decline for 10 months straight until bottoming out at $1,462,400. Prices inched upwards until March and then jumped in April to $1,541,200.
After 9 months of weak sales between June 2022 and February 2023, ranging from 55 to 73 units, March spiked past 100 sales for the first time since April 2022. Last month dipped a bit to 93 units. However, the number of active listings continue to decline, pushing the sales to active listing ratio past 40% for March and April. The average days on market has dropped from a high of 58 in December 2022 to 23 in April.
LANGLEY (CITY & TOWNSHIP) TOWNHOMES
A typical Langley townhome was valued at barely $600,000 in December 2020 – in May 2022, this same townhome was worth $946,500. It is no surprise, therefore, that this housing type has struggled more than most to reverse the downward spiral since that peak. March 2023 was the first time this value slipped under $800,000 since blasting through the threshold in January 2022. As of last month, the benchmark value is $811,200, -13.2% compared to the same time last year. However, early May townhome sales show that this number could jump significantly.
January’s 33 townhome sales was the lowest Langley had seen since January 2014. However, since then, sales have jumped back past 100 in March and 94 in April. Like other communities in the region, these sales numbers are outpacing new listings, which is resulting in decreasing inventory levels and high sales to listing ratios, putting more and more demand on buyers. Townhomes in Langley aren’t staying on the market long: ranging from 15 days on market in March to 20 in April, down from 36-39 in the winter months.
LANGLEY (CITY & TOWNSHIP) APARTMENTS
The last wave of rapid price increases for Langley apartments came between September 2021, when the benchmark value was $513,500, and April 2022, when values peaked at $645,900. Then Langley followed other cities in the region with a 9 month free fall, reaching a floor value of $549,400. However, the last three months have witnessed solid increases, with April’s benchmark value now at $575,500 (-10.9% compared to April 2022).
Sales had hit a low of 48 in January 2023, shooting up to 136 in March before levelling out at 117 in April. These recent figures far outpace the new listings. If you’ve been reading the stories of other communities you know what I’m going to say: the result is declining inventory, rising sales to listing inventory (from 19-20% to 51-56%), and reduced average days on market (only slightly though, from 32 to 28).
MAPLE RIDGE DETACHED HOMES
As in many other cities, detached homes in Maple Ridge peaked in March 2022 at $1,484,400, only to fall to a low of $1,166,000 by January 2023. Benchmark values started inching north before taking a bigger step in April, now at $1,219,600, which represents -17.0% compared to the previous April.
The number of detached home sales in Maple Ridge have doubled from their recent low of 36 (the lowest since January 2019) in December 2022 to 72 in April. One of the reasons that detached home prices have spiked as much as some other nearby cities would be that the number of new listings have kept up with the sales, resulting in a more balanced market, albeit still in a sellers market territory. The average days on market has bounced from 37 in January to 27 in February, back to 37 in March, only to return to 27 in April.
MAPLE RIDGE TOWNHOMES
The “typical” townhome in Maple Ridge has journeyed from a value of $558,400 in January 2021 to a peak of $907,300 in March 2022, quickly falling to $750,700 by August 2022, then slowing the fall and reaching a one year low below $700,000 in January 2023. Since then, townhomes have been increasing month over month over month, hitting $747,000 in April.
January’s pitiful 10 townhome sales seems like a distant memory now, with February hitting 36, March 39, and April 41. The number of new listings is also climbing healthily, which makes it appear that Maple Ridge is one of the few communities where inventory is actually increasing, if slightly. Of course, with a ridiculously high sales to listing value over the last three months, ranging from 59-62%, a lot more inventory is necessary for buyers to have any real choice. If this ratio holds up, we should expect to see much larger price jumps in the coming months.
The average days on market in January appears to have a high anomaly, likely due to a sale of a property or two that were on the market for a very long time (with only 10 sales, this data is easily skewed… being the nerd I am, I had to check, and sure enough, there were 2 sales of homes that were on the market for longer than 200 days). However, the last couple months have varied between 19-21 days on market.
MAPLE RIDGE APARTMENTS
Apartment condos in Maple Ridge hit a 3 month peak during the Spring of 2022, with benchmark values between $570,000 and just shy of $575,000. It was then the expected steady decline, albeit slower than other housing types, since the peak had never reached extreme highs. By January, the apartment benchmark value had fallen to $503,700 before flattening out for a few months. Only just in April did we see a tangible rise in prices, to $525,800 (-8.3% compared to previous April).
November, December and January apartment sales were extremely low, averaging only 16 unit sales each month. However, sales have been rising since then, culminating in April’s 32 sales. New listings are hitting the market, resulting in a steady rise of inventory in Spring. Even so, the sales to listing ratio is also steadily increasing from 17.4% in January to 29.1% in April, putting the apartment market in the favour of sellers.
NEW WESTMINSTER DETACHED HOMES
Due to some aggressive and unique housing policies implemented in response to the 2016 housing price boom, New Westminster tend to be an outlier when it comes to housing prices. I wrote an article about this last year (see: Housing Affordability_ A Tale of Two Greater Vancouver Cities), so I won’t get into the details here, but the argument is that New Westminster generally mitigates some extremes of the housing cycle due to proactive policies. However, it is obviously still susceptible, like any city in the region, to the market forces. Detached homes peaked, like other cities, in March 2022 at $1,637,500 before the relatively rapid fall to $1,450,100 in August. Unlike other cities, prices actually started going back up until October, almost reaching $1.5m. However, the market was simply too weak and prices again fell to a low of $1,384,300 by this January. Prices have since been edging slowly northward, now at $1,433,100 (-11.5% compared to April 2022).
Detached homes are a fairly small sector in New Westminster. There were only 31 such homes sold between December and February. Even the higher Spring sales only amount to 16 in March and 19 in April. The number of new listings are rising, giving more options to buyers. This is leading to rising inventory levels – a rarity in the region. The sale to active listing ratio rose to 25% in April, which is considered a sellers market, but it is among the lowest ratio in the Lower Mainland. Yet the market is active, with the average days on market among the lowest at 18 days.
NEW WESTMINSTER TOWNHOMES
There were only 10 townhomes sales in the 3 months leading up to April (which had 19), so take any analysis with a grain of salt. There are not many townhomes in New Westminster. However, the HPI Benchmark price reached an all time high of $960,400 in May 2022. December of last year represented the recent 12-month low at $872,800. However, the benchmark value has jumped right back up to $934,300 in March before falling slightly to $928,800 in April. The current value is just -2.4% lower than April 2022. Since there were 19 sales in April and only 18 active listings by the end of the month, the sales to listing ratio was over 100%. Like I said, take this values with a grain of salt. Needless to say, if you’re looking for a townhome in New Westminster – good luck.
Keep in mind, if you read my aforementioned article about New Westminster’s housing policies, you should deduce that one of the reasons that New Westminster townhomes are so rare is because one of the policies was to encourage and incentivize “family friendly” apartment condos, meaning many more larger 3 bedroom condos within walking distance to transit and schools. This naturally results in a reduction of demand for the quintessential suburban townhome, filling the “missing middle” in a different way.
NEW WESTMINSTER APARTMENTS
Apartments are New Westminster’s natural primary market. The 26 apartment sales that the city had in January was the lowest since the basement of the 2008-09 housing collapse, and the second lowest figure I have on record since 2005 (January 2009 had 24 sales). However, sales have bounced back, averaging 74 per month over the last two months.
Even New Westminster apartments could not escape the 2022 boom. At the end of 2021, the typical New Westminster apartment was valued at $592,200. Within just four months, that same condo would be worth $672,700. From there, the benchmark value would decline to an annual low of $619,400 at the end of 2022. Prices have been steadily rising and that same hypothetical benchmark apartment is valued at $652,100 at the end of April. This is just -3.1% lower than it was 12 month ago.
SURREY & WHITE ROCK DETACHED HOMES
Grouping all of Surrey together is possibly as shameful as grouping all of Vancouver together. The vastly different neighbourhoods should really be analyzed on their own. To make matters worse, I threw the City of White Rock into the mix of the province’s second largest city. This is primarily due to White Rock’s small sales figures (Surrey’s Cloverdale neighbourhood, after all, has more sales than all of White Rock) and the close association with South Surrey. That said, let’s carry on.
The HPI Benchmark home value in both cities reached their respective peaks exactly 12 months ago in April 2022. After 4-5 months of Surrey closing the gap on White Rock home values, it was around this time that we saw a small re-widening. White Rock’s benchmark crossed the $2 million threshold for the first time in March 2022, peaked at $2.035m in April and then started it’s trend downward. Similarly, Surrey reached a benchmark of $1.888m before a drastic fall to $1.493m by January 2023. White Rock’s correction was a little more bumpy, with it’s lowest value coming in February 2023 at $1.682m. At the end of last month, White Rock’s benchmark is $1,790,700 (-12.0% cp April 2022) and Surrey is sitting at $1,579,100 (-16.4% cp April 2022).
White Rock only had 11 detached home sales in the 3 months before February, meanwhile accomplishing 31 sales in the last two months. Meanwhile, Surrey’s low point was 82 sales in January – this is the second lowest month on record since 2005, barely edging out January 2009’s 81 sales.
The sales to listing ratio in both cities was frustrating for sellers, with White Rock rarely seeing double digits and even hitting 1% in November, and Surrey rarely got much more than 10%. Surrey has since had strong sellers markets in March and April at just under 28%. Meanwhile, White Rock has witnessed a more tempered rise, at 14% in March and 21% in April.
Despite White Rock’s weaker sellers market, the average days on market is already down to 22 days, whereas Surrey is currently at 27 days.
If you purchase what the definition is of the “typical” Surrey townhomes in January 2021, you would have paid just over $630,000. Just 14 months later, that same townhome would have been worth approximately $983,000. Of course, this wouldn’t last. Surrey townhome benchmark values fell to just over $796,000 by January 2023. However, the climb is real, as this same home value is back up to $849,200 (-12.5% less than April 2022).
Surrey townhomes repeats the same concerning record low sales figure seen multiple times in the Fraser Valley: the 79 sales in December was the lowest since January 2009. However, sales have somewhat recovered, with 221 in March and 216 in April. However, active listings are falling, leading to a sales to listing ratio of almost 53%! With this sort of pressure on Surrey townhomes, we will likely only see an increase of bidding wars and high prices.
The average days on market in Surrey has gone from 39 in December to 22 in April.
*Note: White Rock only had 8 townhome sales between October 2022 and April 2023, which is too low for a statistical analysis.
SURREY & WHITE ROCK APARTMENTS
The benchmark home values in both Surrey and White Rock are quickly catching up with the pre-interest rate hike records. White Rock’s top month was March 2022 with a value of $625,000. This number fell to $531,100 by January 2023 but is now back up to $583,200 (-6.2% cp April 2022) and on a trajectory to break it’s past record by July, if not beforehand. Surrey’s peak was in April 2022 at $588,800, with a 12 month low of $502,600 in December 2022. The April benchmark value was up to $537,000 (-8.8% cp April 2022).
Increasing sales + tempered inventory = high sales to listing ratios. The reality is that neither city really had extremely low ratios in the apartment sector through 2022 and early 2023. However, the tangibly higher ratios of the last couple months is leading to significant pressure on buyers. Surrey, especially, is seeing 44-47% sales to listing ratios, which simply cannot be sustained without massive price hikes. White Rock’s 34-35% is also indicating a strong sellers market. I do suspect that a number of new buildings in both cities will help alleviate some of the demand, although these often don’t hit the MLS so we won’t be able to analyze those sales in the same way.
My primary focus is in the Fraser Valley and a select number of Greater Vancouver cities. However, what happens in Vancouver has a significant effect on the rest of the municipalities in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, so it is important to understand the trends happening in the City, as they generally trickle down to other communities.
VANCOUVER DETACHED HOMES
Detached homes in the City of Vancouver have come back up to meet their December 2021 levels, at $2,451,000 (-6.7% from April 2022). The 12 month high was the record breaking March 2022 figure of $2,631,500, with a 12 month low of $2,262,100 this January.
The number of sales in the City in January 2023 were the lowest that my records go back to since January 2005. Yes, the 58 sales in 2023’s January is even lower than January 2009 or the previous low record holder of 69 in November 2008. However, sales have recovered to last spring’s figures, with 187 in March and 170 in April.
We continue to see a more balanced market, with the sales to listing ratio resting between 20-22% over the last couples months: a significant improvement for sellers since January’s 6.7%.
The average number of days on market for a sold property has dramatically reduced from the 12 month high in December of 52 days down to 29 in April.
Townhomes are a rare commodity in Vancouver, but still highly sought after, especially in the last couple of months. The “typical” Vancouver townhome had hit a 12 month low of $1.228m in December 2022, but is now up to $1,335,800 (-4.2% lower than April 2022). The trend is showing that this might hit an all time high this summer, potentially breaking the $1.395m record set in March 2022.
The number of sales shows just how rare this housing type is in the city, with only 52 sales in April. This is a decline from March’s 69 sales, but much improved from the January low of 22. The sales to listing ratio of Vancouver’s townhomes is currently just under 19%, suggesting a balanced market, but much better for sellers compared to January’s 8.6%.
The HPI Benchmark value for an apartment in the City of Vancouver reached a record of $836,800 back in May 2022. Then it fell off the proverbial cliff, hitting a 12 month low in December 2022 at $771,400 – essentially where prices were back in December 2021. However, apartments have seen 4 straight months of increases and are now valued at $804,700, just -3.5% lower than 12 months earlier.
Sales figures hit a low in January at 205 units, but have since more than doubled in March (423) and April (453). The sales to listings ratio has climbed out of the 13.9% buyers market of January to a solid sellers market of 28.8%. Further indications of a sellers market include the steady change in average days on market, which was 38 days back in January, but is now just 25 days. If you don’t believe the numbers, you should have seen all the activity at Streetside’s “Bailey” presale launch – it’s heating up out there.
CITY NOT LISTED?
Yes, I do cover more cities than those listed above. However, these market reports can get lengthy so I focus on areas which I either do the majority of my business and/or municipalities that have a significant affect on the regional market. If you would like more information about any additional city in the region, please do not hesitate to send me a message at email@example.com.