Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to the data: Monday market update

MLS numbers courtesy of the VREB via Marko Juras.

Month-to-date January 2011
Net Unconditional Sales: 233
New Listings: 879
Active Listings: 3,120
Months of Inventory: 13.4
Sales to new listings ratio: 27%

January 2010 totals
Net Unconditional Sales: 418
New Listings: 1,211
Active Listings: 2,793

Sales are off to a slow start in 2011. They may well end up being even slower than December 2010. While REALTORS® manufacture bidding wars on tear-downs over on the mainland with a little help from asleep-at-the-wheel journalism (H/T Mr.4AM), Victorian's aren't going goo goo for the ga ga of available properties quite yet. With looming mortgage changes in the near term, the question remains: will they?

Originally I'd thought they might. Now, I'm not so sure. I'm beginning to think there might not be an early heated "spring market" before the implemented CMHC changes. There's been a big shift in the market over the early weeks of 2011, and it's demand driven, or I should say lack-of-demand driven. For as long as I can remember, single family homes priced below $500K were in high demand. Now? Not so much. The sheer lack of sales in this category this month has me scratching my head. Where did those buyers go? More importantly, are they just taking a breather or are they finally exhausted?

UPDATE: Demographia's most recent survey released today shows Victoria as Severely Unaffordable with the median house price requiring 7.1 times annual median household salary to purchase. We're more unaffordable than San Jose, San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California, heck, we're even more unaffordable than New York City! New York City? Yep, even that town that gave the world thin and runny salsa is more affordable than us. Congratulations Victoria, you've earned it!


Mark said...

Exhausted IMO.....eventually you run out of lemmings. They've all jumped of the cliff, the few stragglers are indecisive.

I see nothing but OM and price changes in my private client crap.

Bring on the Spring and the huge increase in listings!

omc said...

I was expecting a bit of a surge, but it isn't happening. I am being pleasantly surprised by the houses in my range that are selling; many are decent deals. I am sitting for a while, but a few of the houses that came on the market made me sit up and take notice. Some nice family type houses, in good neighborhoods that only need updating, for prices I haven't seen in a while. I hadn't actually seen any of these houses until last year. it just goes to show that dishonest realtors have flippers ni thier pockets waiting for good fixer uppers in oak bay. The flipper garbage is also slowly dropping in price.

It is starting to look like there might be a bit of a rush to list.

a simple man said...

I agree, omc. You can get a lot more for your dollar this year than last year at this time. Seeing a number of price drops in Oak Bay that were due.

Alexandrahere said...

Talus---thanks for your comments and take on the new "Hudson" condo development. I am disappointed to hear about the low/builder quality cabinetry, flooring etc. I thought they would be a little nicer than that. I went down to view them as well a couple of months ago. I didn't get to see them as the wait for the host/hostess was going to be at least 40 minutes. No thanks.

DavidL said...

Congratulations, Victoria! We are now ranked the 18th most "Severely Unaffordable Housing Market" in the world.

The following list shows the median multiple (median house price divided
by gross annual median household income) and the corresponding city:

11.4 Hong Kong (China)
 9.6 Sydney, NSW (Australia)
 9.5 Vancouver, BC (Canada)
 9.3 Bournemouth & Dorset (U.K.)
 9.1 Coff's Harbour, NSW (Australia)
 9.0 Melbourne, VIC (Australia)
 8.5 Honolulu, HI (U.S.)
 8.4 Sunshine Coast, QLD (Australia)
 8.1 Warwickshire (U.K.)
 7.9 London (Greater London Authority) (U.K.)
 7.9 Plymouth & Devon (U.K.)
 7.7 Gold Coast, QLD-NSW (Australia)
 7.5 Swindon & Wiltshire (U.K.)
 7.4 Geelong, VIC (Australia)
 7.2 Wollongong, NSW (Australia)
 7.2 San Francisco-Oakland, CA (U.S.)
 7.2 Santa Cruz, CA (U.S.)
 7.1 Adelaide, SA (Australia)
 7.1 Victoria, BC (Canada)
 7.1 London Exurbs (E & SE England) (U.K.)
 7.0 Newcastle-Maitland, NSW (Australia)
 6.8 Warrington & Cheshire (U.K.)
 6.7 San Jose, CA (U.S.)
 6.6 Brisbane, QLD (Australia)
 6.6 Bundaberg, QLD (Australia)

Check out page 14 in the 7th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability
Survey: 2011

DavidL said...

Last year, the median multiple for Victoria was 7.9 and we were the 8th most unaffordable in the world ...

HouseHuntVictoria said...

DavidL, and yet local industry would tell you that prices have gone up. Again, something stinks in the numbers.

As I understand it, they've not weighted interest rates in their study... so I don't think lower interest rates can be pointed to for an increase in affordability.

Leo S said...

Not sure where demographia is getting their numbers. They show that median price went down to 430k from 444k. However, the VREB shows an increase in the median for both SFHs and condos.

Animal Spirit said...

DavidL, HHV - per the VREB/BCREA numbers discussions a few threads ago, I suspect that the international study uses BCREA month over month data (which shows a decline) rather than the VREB data.

Splitting hairs really - still far too unaffordable for most.

Leo S said...

Using monthly data would be somewhat... well, totally insane. Our monthly averages have fluctuated 10% over the course of 6 months. Hope they're not that stupid over there at demographia.

DavidL said...

I believe that Demographia's numbers are based on Q3 2010 sales. Whether this is sales spread over the entire quarter, or just sales for September, I don't know.

Animal Spirit said...

which is different than the VREB full year over full year data.

DavidL said...

@ HHV wrote: ... yet local industry would tell you that prices have gone up. Again, something stinks in the numbers.

Over the past six months average house prices have gone up while median house prices have gone down. It now appears that median prices will begin to rise as well as virtually nothing is selling at the "bottom end" of the market.

I guess all those concerns about being "priced out forever" are beginning to come true! (Unless you believe like I do that forever arrives sometime during the next year, and then prices will continue to slide downwards.)

Mindset said...

Read a funny quote today from Nassim Taleb and thought everyone might find it amusing, "To be completely cured of news, spend a year reading the previous weeks newspapers".

Long time reader said...

I have been a long time reader and first time poster. Something has finally got me curious enough to contribute.

Re: MLS #287605 (1253 Chapman St), wondering how this property assessment has jumped from 537K (2010) to 700K (2011) without any obvious improvements? The lot is a small size (0.07) so wondering how its possible the land value improved $140k? This percentage increase (30%) is not in line with overall trends.

Marko I think this might be your listing... maybe you can shed some light?

omc said...

Did the owner go and ask city hall to re-asses. Seriously though, that is probably the worst priced property in the whole of Victoria, you only need to look at the other house on the same street that just sold. For that matter any other sales in Fairfield in the last year. 800 sqft on the main with 9x9 "bedrooms" in finished attic space, a low height basement, tiny lot and painted kitchen cabinets.

Mark said...

Maybe Marko hacked into BC Assessment....

Marko said...

I guess it is my listing, but it is a $695 flat fee type variety so I am not really involved or offering services other than correctly uploading the information to MLS. It was up to the seller to determine a price.

Assessment, I don't know why it jumped but it was lagging. The property sold for $392,000 in 2003, $717,000 in April 2007 so I would say assessment was off.

Waiting said...

Can you tell me what 2670 Cranmore sold for?

Marko said...


Just Jack said...

The Chapman property is a tough sell. I would have expected more floor area (excluding the basement) for the price.

When the market was whacky, there were a few very high prices paid for homes along that street. Believe it or not - there was a time in Victoria when people actually thought that the last sale on the street set a new market level for the city. Today, we can see how absolutely silly that thought was - but back then that was the new paradigm. 250 years of economic theory was replaced by what a few people thought a rich American, Albertan or Asian could pay. Fear and greed made the market.

And I'm figuring that's why the BC Assessment needed serious revision. It was simply garbage in - garbage out for the assessment program.

The area assessor pretty much reset the assessed value at the previous purchase price. Something that they will have to do again next year.

Robert Reynolds - HMR Insurance said...

two anecdotes to share

last night i drove by the house on Redfern on my way home from work. It is about what I would like to get when I eventually buy. There were two couples looking in the windows, and a car in front and behind me slowly drove by taking a look.

Also today I overheard a former VREB president talking to a client in Starbucks about how they need to move fast because of the changes happening to the mortgage rules.

HouseHuntVictoria said...

@Rob, hopefully it was a listing client and not a buying client.

Robert Reynolds - HMR Insurance said...

No idea, I didn't eavesdrop that long, just enough to pickup my coffee.

Waiting said...

The assessment on our property on Saltspring dropped $161,000 this year. Very little on SS is selling right now and the assessments relect that. Too bad it didn't happen in Victoria too.

Waiting said...

More good news (or bad depending on your perspective) New York Times - Double Dip

omc said...


I was just wondering if you had gone to see that house on Cranmore? I did, and I was very unimpressed. It is in a busier location next to a sketchy rental duplex. The house was in very poor shape needing extensive repairs and updating. The garage needed to be torn down also. There have been some better values in some houses sold so far this year; this one wasn't one of them.

Animal Spirit said...

interesting - 428 Durban went for 9K under 2010 assessed value - in Fairfield. One of the first under assessed I've seen there.

Leo S said...

Went to the open house at 820 Darwin on the weekend. Very nice place that is. Great layout, well maintained.
Still far too expensive at 523k, but at least it's an improvement over most of the crap out there.
MLS link

omc said...

1144 chapman in Fairfield went for $26k under 2010 assessment. I have noticed that a fair amount of fairfield houses are selling very close, or under 2010 assessment. I guess it is the first one in that price range I have seen in a while selling under assessment though. One that isn't a total POS, that is.

Mark said...

Went to the open house at 820 Darwin on the weekend. Very nice place that is. Great layout, well maintained.
Still far too expensive at 523k, but at least it's an improvement over most of the crap out there.
MLS link

LMAO!!! too think????

Marko said...

A104-373 Tyee Rd townhome just went for 355k.

A105-373 went in 2009 before the market recovery took hold for 465k...same sq/ft, same layout...

That must suck. Timing the market is only part of the equation.

Leo S said...

@Mark LMAO!!! too think????

Yeah, but not hideously so. It really is a nice place.

For context, the place we looked at before that one on Darwin was this: 981 Tulip

Sure its bigger, but a 6 month flip job with paint that looks like it was done by a 5 year old. A 300sqft (!!) bachelor suite, which has a truly hilarious layout (half the suite is the kitchen, with about enough room left for a bed and nothing else). An extension that was bolted on and never really finished. Wavy laminate slapped on the floors, kitchen cupboards with a coat of bad paint and cheap countertops. Lack of polish literally everywhere.

All that for 544k. So you can imagine how good that Darwin place looked :)

I tried to look up how much it sold for, since the owner said he bought it 6 months ago, but BC assessment didn't have any previous sale price. Anyone know?

Just Jack said...

What I can find is that 981 Tulip was listed for $425,000on June 3, 2010 and sold on June 23, 2010 for $417,000.

It was then listed on November 29, 2010 for $572,900. Then dropped on December 13, 2010 to $555,000. Then dropped on December 21, 2010 to $549,900 and then dropped on January 6, 2011 to $544,900.

Anyone else getting sick of this waiting to see what the spring market is going to be like?


jesse said...

Are listings increasing fast?

HouseHuntVictoria said...

"Are listings increasing fast?"

Not as fast as they did in January 2010.

I'm not hearing too many people talking about now being a good time to sell.

Reid said...

Leo S, as a heads up, many of the houses are Darwin have slope stability issues. I would be careful with houses on that street and the price may reflect these concerns.

Leo S said...

Thanks Just Jack, and also Reid for that head's up.