Last month I alluded to my prediction that the benchmark value would start to decrease in most communities if demand continued to wane. Sure enough, demand did soften through the month of August in the Fraser Valley, and prices, whether measured by average, median or benchmark, have fallen – although the difference between these measures are quite substantial.
Since the last interest hike in June, the listing to sales ratio has fallen from 34.8% to 22.3% among all housing types in the Fraser Valley. Although the benchmark price rose from $1.041m in June $1.047m in July, the value fell to just shy of $1.038m in August.
The benchmark value is, however, a conservative value useful for long term trends, not quick shifts in the market. The median housing sale has dropped from $905,000 in June to $825,000 in August and the average home sale has decreased from $1.107m to $999,703 in the same time frame.
Although the trends seem to indicate we are seeing a softening market, some of this might have been due to anticipation of a potential interest rate hike in September, which did not happen. Could we see a bit of a bounce in the September market?
Change to City by City Report Format
In the past I’ve reviewed 11 different cities and 3 regions in hopes of providing the most complete monthly analysis I can. Since this process can take upwards to a week of writing depending on the time I have, so I’ve decided to experiment with my review format. I will continue to provide a brief synopsis of the Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Chilliwack regions in the same way I have in the past. However, for the cities, I will simply post the graphs with the full historical graphs that I will update monthly, without a written review.
With the time saved by providing the same information, just without my verbiage, I am working on regular more in depth analysis of select cities that will be published via blog and video formats. These research articles/videos will focus on more specific questions that I commonly hear from clients and colleagues. I would love to hear your feedback as I move forward with this experimentation!
First, let’s talk about the statistics you’ll see below.
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE
Why it’s important: The MLS HPI Price, or benchmark value, tracks a hypothetical “typical” home for a defined area. Unlike “Average” and “Median” values, it excludes extreme lows and highs in the market and mitigates influence of anomalies, especially in small markets caused by anything from a land assembly to a new development that might not be representative of the typical home. One drawback is that is is generally a conservative value intended to track home values over a longer period of time, and therefore may not always address occasional quick shifts in the marketplace. See more at the REBGV’s explanation: MLS® Home Price Index explained.
Why it’s important: By itself, the number of sales or the number of listings don’t, or shouldn’t really matter to the general public. Yes, it is important for REALTORS to know how many sales there are in one’s own community, since it is our industry and our livelihood depends on the number of sales. It is more important for the general public to know and understand the ratio between the number of sales and the number listings.
This is the best gauge of supply and demand of real estate in the market place. A higher percentage means that a greater proportion of homes listed sold in that respective month. The higher the percentage, the more favourable it is for a seller – the lower the percentage, the more favourable the market is for buyers. Logically, when the ratio increases, prices generally rise and when it falls, prices follow. There are more variables to home prices so this is a generalization, and it often takes several months for the market to adjust in pricing.
It is also important to understand how our region calculates the Sales to Actives Ratio. It is NOT actually the ratio between the number of sales and the number of TOTAL listings. It is, rather, the number of Sales to the number of listings at the end of the month. This is why you can see percentages well above 100% in a hot market.
Finally, the thresholds of what people, myself included, might call a “buyers market”, “sellers market”, and “balanced market” are completely arbitrary. It is not uncommon to see thresholds such as 0-17% as a “buyers market”, 18-21% as a “balanced market” and 22%+ as a “sellers market”, or something similar. However, I stress that these are relative terms.
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET
Why it’s important: The average days on market can be used in conjunction with the sales to listing ratio to gauge the supply and demand. Obviously, this calculation is found through the sum total of days on market among all sold properties, divided by the total number of sales. However, there may be a lag in a rapidly downshifting market (ie low sales to listing ratio). If more properties are sitting on the market, the average days on market of ACTIVE listings may be going up, but they will not be calculated into the average sold days on market… not until they sell. The averages days on market to sale is a useful tool for sellers as it is potentially an indicator of an overpriced property, should their listing by grossly over the average days. However, similar to the sales to listing ratio, every property is its own unique situation and all factors should be considered carefully.
Below: Market Reports for… (click to jump)
REGIONAL – GREATER VANCOUVER
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) represents the municipalities closest to, and including, the City of Vancouver. This includes cities like Richmond, Burnaby, and Coquitlam, as well as farther Sechelt & Maple Ridge.
Benchmark: $2,018,500 (+3.3% vs August 2022)
The benchmark value for detached homes in the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver experienced a nominal increase from $2.013m to $2.019m. The sales to active listing ratio, however, is showing weakening demand as only 14.5% of homes in the region sold in August, placing it solidly in a buyers market. The number of new listings continues to decrease in the 3rd quarter, but the lack of sales still favours current buyers.
Benchmark: $1,103,900 (+3.9% vs August 2022)
Greater Vancouver townhomes had their first benchmark price decrease since December 2022, albeit a statistically insignificant number, falling from $1,104,600 to $1,103,900. However, the median sales price fell more significantly from $1.091m to $1.061m and the average price fell from $1.144m to $1.121m. The number of new listings continue to drop, as do sales. The sales to listing ratio representing the overall demand shows relative stability in the marketplace, at 35.1%, down slightly from last month’s 36%.
Benchmark: $770,000 (+4.4% vs August 2022) | Avg Price p/sqft: $954
The “typical” Greater Vancouver apartment condo didn’t change in its average price per square foot over the last month, and the benchmark value saw only a nominal decrease, from $771,600 to $770,000. Both the average and median prices also experienced decreases. Due to relative stable sales figures and falling number of new listings, the sales to listing ratio increase up from 30% to 33% in August.
REGIONAL – FRASER VALLEY
The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board represents the south of the Fraser Valley cities from North Delta in the west to Abbotsford in the east… plus Mission.
Benchmark: $1,534,500 (+1.6% vs August 2022)
The benchmark value for Fraser Valley’s detached homes decreased slightly between July and August, down to $1.535m from $1.543m. The sales to listing ratio continues to favour buyers for the second month, with just 14.6% of homes listed selling in August. The number of sales declined again for the second month, while the number of new listings fell for the fourth straight month.
Benchmark: $846,200 (+0.9% vs August 2022)
Fraser Valley’s benchmark townhome values also fell for the first time since January, from $850,300 to $846,200. However, this is also the second month in a row that both the median and average values have decreased. Sales figures continue to fall alongside the lack of new listings. While the sales to listing ratio is still in a “sellers market” territory with 37.1% of townhomes selling, showing the greatest demand among housing types in the region, this is a significantly different market than the 55.1% ratio in July.
Benchmark: $553,500 (+2.5% vs August 2022) | Avg Price p/sqft: $680
After 7 straight month of rising values, the benchmark value for Fraser Valley apartments fell, although just from $555,500 to $553,500. The number of sales and new listings fell for the second month, resulting in a sales to listing ratio of 31.2%, down slightly from 34.2% in July. This still represents a sellers market, but with a possibly weakening trend.
REGIONAL – CHILLIWACK
The Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board represents the south of the Fraser Valley communities from Yarrow to Lytton.
Chilliwack HPI Tool Found at https://www.cadreb.com/news-statistics/consumer-hpi/
Benchmark: $894,500 (-1.1% vs August 2022)
Chilliwack detached experienced its first drawback in their benchmark price since February, falling from $921,100 in July to back under the $900k threshold. Interestingly, both the average and median values had increased slightly in August. The number of new listings fell for the 3rd month in a row, as did sales. The disproportionate lost of sales, however, has resulted in a 13.7% sales to listing ratio that is starting to heavily favour buyers. Keep in mind that this number was 41.5% in May!
Benchmark: $609,100 (-2.9% vs July 2022)
The typical Chilliwack townhome also fell, just slightly, from $613,900 to $609,100. However, this represents the first decline since December 2022, and, when combined with the overall market, really suggests that 2023’s peak hit earlier in summer. Both of the average and median values had much steeper declines in August compared to the benchmark price.
A like reason for the steady prices in the townhome market is that sales actually received a small bump while new listings continued to fall, resulting in a slightly higher sales to listing ratio in August, at 35.8%. This ratio, however, was up past 72% in May and has been in the 50% range over the summer.
Benchmark: $421,500 (-1.6% vs August 2022) | Avg Price p/sqft: $388
Unlike the other two housing types, Chilliwack apartments experienced a bump in August, from $416,500 to $421,500. The median value was identical to the previous month, while the average increased by approximately $10k. Sales fell, while new listings increased, so the sales to listing ratio did take a hit, dropping from 25% to 19.1%, representative of a balanced market.
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – ABBOTSFORD
SALES:LISTING RATIO – ABBOTSFORD
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – ABBOTSFORD
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – BURNABY
SALES:LISTING RATIO – BURNABY
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – BURNABY
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – COQUITLAM
SALES:LISTING RATIO – COQUITLAM
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – COQUITLAM
The City of Delta is the only local municipality that is represented by two different real estate boards, carving it up between “North Delta” (in the FVREB) and “Ladner” and “Tsawwassen” (in REBGV). Due to this separation, there isn’t a combined MLS statistical dataset for Delta, despite being a community of over 108,000 (2021 Census). North Delta generally represents 45-50% of sales in Delta.
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – NORTH DELTA
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – SOUTH DELTA
SALES:LISTING RATIO – NORTH DELTA
SALES:LISTING RATIO – SOUTH DELTA
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – NORTH DELTA
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – SOUTH DELTA
DELTA & TSAWWASSEN DETACHED HOMES
DELTA & TSAWWASSEN TOWNHOMES
DELTA & TSAWWASSEN APARTMENTS
Note: The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board includes Langley City as a “sub-area” of “Greater Langley”, but does not provide data for the Township of Langley separate from the City. Unfortunately this means that there is no separate “Benchmark HPI” dedicated solely to the Township, but there is for the City. The line on the graph you see representing “Langley” is for, in fact, “Greater Langley”. I will use the term “Greater Langley” in reference to the combination of both Langleys.
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – LANGLEY
SALES:LISTING RATIO – LANGLEY
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – LANGLEY
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – MAPLE RIDGE
SALES:LISTING RATIO – MAPLE RIDGE
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – MAPLE RIDGE
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – NEW WESTMINSTER
SALES:LISTING RATIO – NEW WESTMINSTER
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – NEW WESTMINSTER
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – SURREY & WHITE ROCK
SALES:LISTING RATIO – SURREY & WHITE ROCK
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – SURREY & WHITE ROCK
SURREY & WHITE ROCK DETACHED HOMES
SURREY & WHITE ROCK APARTMENTS
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.
MLS BENCHMARK VALUE – VANCOUVER
SALES:LISTING RATIO – VANCOUVER
AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET – VANCOUVER
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.