Monday, May 30, 2011

Two days to go. Can we get there?

MLS numbers courtesy of the VREB via Marko Juras. These numbers are for the Victoria Real Estate Board's reporting area, including Sooke, Shawnigan Lake and the Gulf Islands.

Month-to-date May 2011 (last week's numbers in brackets)
Net Unconditional Sales: 527 (415) +112
New Listings: 1,381 (1107) +274
Active Listings: 4,666 (4,599) +67
Sales to new listings ratio: 38% (37%)

May 2010 totals
Net Unconditional Sales: 695
New Listings: 1,621
Active Listings: 4,521
Sales to new listings ratio: 42.8%
Sales to active listings ratio: 15% or 6.5 MOI

JustWaiting gave us as good as an analysis as we'll get around here:

Let's take a closer look at the weekly stats VREB has released for May. (+xxx) denotes change from previous week.

May 30 (4 day work week)
- Pending sales 527 (+112)
- New listings 1381 (+274)
- Active listings 4666 (+67)

May 24
- Pending sales 415 (+161)
- New listings 1107 (+336)
- Active listings 4599 (+56)

May 16
- Pending sales 254 (+126)
- New listings 771 (+375)
- Active listings 4543 (+126)

May 9
- Pending sales 128
- New listings 396
- Active listings 4417

The sales/new listings ratio for May is 527/1381 or 38% which is a sign of a buyers market (below 40%).

Sales have averaged about 27 per business day so we can expect around 581 from VREB on Wednesday. This is close to last month's 574 but way down from previous years.

2010 - 695
2009 - 879
2008 - 770
2007 - 963
2006 - 909

You can expect the usual "stable and balanced" market nonsense from VREB and their parrot the TC on Wednesday. Any comparison to last year will say that 2010 was unusually high etc. No mention will be made of the last 5 years.


happy renter said...

And if there are actually more sales this month than last - even if there are only 7 more sales - you can expect that someone or other will say that sales are on an upswing. I'm so tired of the "reporting" on real estate that we keep seeing in this city. Please, TC, prove me wrong.

Here's an interesting article in the New York Times on how more people are choosing to rent in the face of ever-declining housing prices in the US:
Case-Shiller Index Is Expected to Show a New Low in Prices

a simple man said...

Carney the carney keeps interest rates at 1% for now.

happy renter said...

From the Globe and Mail:

Mark Carney holds rates steady, for now

a simple man said...

Wow - my PCS is littered with price drops in the past day. Anyone else?

Waiting said...

@ a simple man I've had a couple of price changes but no new listings since the 27th.

EagerBuyer(Not) said...
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EagerBuyer(Not) said...

I am tracking houses in Saanich (east,west,central) from 390 to 620K. Yesterday there were 9 price changes and 4 new listings. This morning 2 price changes and 1 new listing.

Currently there are 184 listings and 84 (46%) have had one or more price reductions.

To me this says a market correction is underway!

omc said...

I am seeing a lot of price corrections also, though I haven't seen a single one that would interest me. It appears that most, if not all, of these are still listing far above similar houses that have recently sold. These are the people who will be following the market down into the fall, just like last year. In fact, I have noticed that some are from last year.

kabloona said...

happy_renter, thank you for the link. Good article from the NYT....

EagerBuyer(Not) said...

Remember Tony Joe the former VREB president who really knew how to spin those monthly stats...

Here is his latest comment on the local market.

Tony on Facebook

If the worst sales in over 5 years is strength I would hate to see his definition of weakness!

EagerBuyer(Not) said...

Here is a neat interactive application showing prices in all areas of Greater Victoria in the last 10 years. Play button is on left side. Click in the upper right hand corner to see different types of charts.

Shannon& Glendas Interactive VREB Price Application

JustWaiting said...
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JustWaiting said...

Garth Turner just blogged about a 5% down Victoria couple that sells a semi-duplex after 3 years and only gets what they paid for it. All those monthly interest payments down the drain but now they are happy renters.

Interesting read... Click Here

Leo S said...

Regarding Garth's article. So they had a 433,000 mortgage, and with an income of 130k they aren't saving a dime? The problem isn't the house, it's that they're terrible at budgeting in the rest of their life.

pod_x said...

I don't think the price of the house has anything to do with how much money they save.

pod_x said...

Or rather other way around!

Rhino said...

I'm pretty sure all of Garths "letters" are made up or doctored. They all sound the same.

Marko said...

Wednesday June 1, 2011 8:10am:

May May
2011 2010
Net Unconditional Sales: 572 695
New Listings: 1,524 1,621
Active Listings: 4,857 4,521

Please Note

•Left Column: stats for the entire month from this year
•Right Column: stats for the entire month from last year

a simple man said...

thanks Marko.

Wow. Listings are getting into serious contention for the 5000 range. Sales, as expected, limp.

8.49 MOI - for this time of year that has to be worrisome.

I think this drop in Victoria will be like the tide coming in at Parksville. Seems to happen slowly so you turn your back to it, but then all of a sudden you turn around and you are surrounded.

Just Jack said...

Last month saw the months of inventory for detached homes in the urban core rise slightly to 4 months. 173 sales to 707 listings

While the western communities continues to build inventory at a more rapid pace with 7.5 months of inventory. The same with the Peninsula communities which had 34 sales last month and currently 247 listings.

Of course Victoria has a lot of condos for sale too. 762 condo listings with 95 sales last month for 8 months of inventory. Some of these condos have yet to be built. Looking at just the re-sale condo market the months of inventory is 7.6.

I guess its the story of the three little pigs. The big bad wolf just hasn't gotten to Fairfield ---- yet.

omc said...

Wonder what the TC will say now, since month to month didn't even go up.

Marko said...

The weather was poor otherwise sales would have been better.

Leo S said...

Seems like a similar pattern to last year. Sales peaking in March, then downward. This year we have fewer sales and more inventory though.

On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if inventory sharply declined again as people realize they can't get what they want and wait for next year. After a decade of appreciation the decline will be incredibly sticky.

DavidL said...


:-) Yes, that must be it. If the weather had been hot and sunny, buyers might have gone to the beach - so the same excuse could be used.

Introvert said...

"Two days to go. Can we get there?"

Can we get where?

Regarding Garth's article. So they had a 433,000 mortgage, and with an income of 130k they aren't saving a dime? The problem isn't the house, it's that they're terrible at budgeting in the rest of their life.

I agree, Leo S. This couple must have gone on too many expensive vacations and/or bought unnecessarily expensive vehicles.

JustWaiting said...

OMC said,

Wonder what the TC will say now, since month to month didn't even go up.

As always the TC parrot will squawk whatever is in the VREB press release.

VREB press release will say "stable and balanced" market conditions with "great time for buyers" because of low interest rates and lots of homes to choose from. You can also expect sales are low due to poor weather and last year was exceptional for sales.

Just Jack said...

With four months of house inventory, the urban core areas prices are stable with some increasing in specific areas like Fernwood and Farfield.

But, 7.5 months of inventory translates into declining prices. Like the recent sale of a property on Shaw avenue in Langford at $565,000. The property was previously bought back in March 2008 for $582,000.

To buy a home in Victoria city today requires a substantial downpayment. You can get that down payment by fixing your mother-in-laws car brakes or by selling a condo or a starter house and moving on up the property ladder.

Most will sell their condominium or a home in the outlying areas. But with only 84 condominium re-sales last month, and almost a thousand homes for sale outside of the core cities, June sales may be the one of the worst in 25 years.

As for my friend trying to sell his home in the western communities after buying a home in Victoria. Today he owns two homes. He has taken his old home in the western communities off the market because in his words "I'm not willing to give it away" and has a tenant lined up at $2,000 per month with a lease. His total mortgage payments have almost trebled and he is very optimistic about future real estate prices.

The only sacrifice he will probably make is that his daughter will not be going to private school or have horse riding lessons anymore.

It's all about priorities.

JustWaiting said...

Some stats for those that are interested in price changes.

May 23-30
- 280 New listings
- 249 Price changes
- 117 Pending sales

May 16-22
- 315 New listings
- 213 Price changes
- 156 Pending sales

May 8-15
- 391 New listings
- 231 Price changes
- 124 Pending sales

JustWaiting said...
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JustWaiting said...

In an earlier post I showed May MLS sales for the last five years. This data comes from the VREB Website.

2010 - 695
2009 - 879
2008 - 770
2007 - 963
2006 - 909

A local source gave me the sales from 2000-2005

2005 - 901
2004 - 774
2003 - 789
2002 - 825
2001 - 750
2000 - 550

Marko reports 572 for May 2011.

We have to go back to 2000 before we see a lower sales number for May!

Just Jack said...

So, what happened in detached homes sale in the core municipalities during May?

Well, we had a sale of a home for the lowest price in several years. That happened in Esquimalt with the starter home selling for $305,000.

In fact most of the lower home prices are in Esquimalt and Saanich West.

The median price of a home was $610,000 which bought you a 35 year old 2,100 square foot home on a 7,200 square foot lot in Gordon Head.

18 homes over a million were bought, mostly in Oak Bay and choicest areas of Victoria and Saanich East. With some of the bigger price tags being bought by Americans or Albertans (Our HAM)

The average sale price is about 15% more than the median mostly because of the high price tags of some sales and the average days on market is stretching past 40 days or almost half way through a standard listing contract. Spooky for the seller and agent which makes for a lot of price reductions.

So while the volume of sales in June may be one of the lowest, prices should remain stable in the core areas.

If you live anywhere else or own a condominium ...

omc said...


Inventory may sharply decline because some may not need to sell, but remember this is the same as last year. If it was priced correctly, it sold in this market. If you priced out of range, it doesn't. Those who couldn't get their heads around reality will either end up accepting lower offers this summer/fall, not selling, or trying again next year.

There are always some who have to sell, and there are always houses that will come on the market. We will see some of these overpriced houses on the market next year (again) and they will bump up the listings #s (again). The market has already corrected a bit more this year, those with houses still on the market just don't want to believe it.

Mindset said...

Marco said: The weather was poor otherwise sales would have been better.

How about:
- The general housing news has been getting gloomier, otherwise sales would be better
- Victoria and Vancouver have been singled out as bubble markets, otherwise sales would have been better
- The interest rate news is getting dire, otherwise sales would have been better.
- The first time home buyer market is tapped out, otherwise sales would have been better.

Sure,the weather has a mood effect, but lets face it, there are a lot bigger things going on here than scattered clouds.

DavidL said...


If the sales numbers are compared with the population numbers, I would suggest that the sales number have actually decreased as compared with those in 2000.

Just Jack said...

And if you are one of the chosen people living the life on Bear Mountain, don't try to sell that condo because there are 54 listed and only one sold last month for $322,500 and it was 920 square feet and fully furnished!

Originally purchased in August 2007 for $517,000


The thing about Bear Mountain homes is that since they were all built in the last half dozen years, as prices continue to roll back to 2007, 2006 and 2005 levels, you end up with an entire mountain of houses worth less than the original contract or purchase price.

JustWaiting said...

Stats and spin release now available on VREB site.

Average Prices with last month in ()

SFH - 628,462 (615,533)
Condos - 328,345 (353,858)
Townhouse - 466,845 (480,621)

Median Prices with last month in ()

SFH - 553,000 (556,000)
Condos - 294,000 (301,000)
Townhouse - 432,332 (460,000)

Median and average prices fell in every category but SFH average sales price. The only reason this was higher was due to the sale of 26 homes over 1 million.

VREB confirmed my press release predictions...

"There is plenty of choice now on the market for buyers with 4,857 properties available for sale at the end of May"

"It’s important to remember, however, that the first six months of last year were very active and sales activity subsequently slowed considerably over the summer and into the fall."

"Fimrite noted that while overall market conditions remain balanced, it’s important for sellers to price their homes realistically to attract attention from buyers. "

Just Jack said...

Comparing sales last month to the population

33 home sales for 83,000 in Victoria
29 sales for 18,500 in Oak Bay
10 sales for 17,500 in Esquimalt
94 sales for 113,500 in Saanich
8 sales for 9,500 in View Royal
The core districts had 174 home sales for 244,000 people

The western communities had 84 home sales for 68,000

And the peninsula had 34 home sale for 42,500 people.

How about house listings

130 listings for 83,000 -Victoria
102 listings for 18,500 -Oak Bay
59 listings for 17,500 - Esquimalt
362 listings for 113,500 - Saanich
54 listings for 9,500 -View Royal

The core districts had 707 listings for 244,000 people

The western communities had 620 listings for 68,000 people

And the peninsula had 249 listings for 42,500 people.

The core also has most of the condominiums and town homes in Greater Victoria and that adds another 975 listings for a total of some 1,682 listings per 83,000 soles. So while there may be a shortage of listings in housing in some areas of Victoria, there is a glut of condominiums and town homes.

It does look like the trend is for people to get back into the city core detached homes. And there is a shortage of buyers as one areas success is at the cost of another area. Prices in Victoria may be stable to increasing but at the cost of declining prices in the westshore, peninsula, condominiums and town homes.

The same as in the rental market as low interest rates lead to increased vacancy rates. As the market robbed the rental market of tenants to feed the housing sector.

Gawd, is this not the same as what happened in Las Vegas, Phoenix and Florida!

DavidL said...

From the TC:

Greater Victoria real estate sales flat, properties plenty

Analysts have cited several reasons for the slowdown, including tighter lending rules, increasing mortgage rates and a prolonged economic recovery.

DavidL said...

CBC News:
Canada's personal debt rises

Canadians rang up five per cent more in personal debt in the first three months of 2011 compared with 2010, according to a report released Wednesday [June 1st].