Vancouver’s hot housing market has finally hit the milestone many prospective buyers feared, with the benchmark price of a detached home rising to more than $1 million in December, but agents say that’s not exactly par for the course.
“The numbers in the Lower Mainland are skewed by the numbers in West Vancouver,” Todd Shyiak, Century 21’s director of operations for Western Canada, told our sister publication, REP. “The pricing of Lower Mainland real estate is really skewed just by the numbers coming out of the West, which is driving up the prices in East Vancouver and Burnaby and the whole mainland. The further out you get, the more reasonable prices are.”
Indeed, prices in the Metro Vancouver region aren’t indicative of the GVA. Commenting in the REP forum, Sandy Clark says single-family homes in nearby Nanaimo start around $330,000, with executive homes rising in price to about $700,000.
“With the ever increasing cost of owning a home in Vancouver, it is worth buyers travelling across the straight,” she wrote.
But that buffer space is certainly shrinking. As the highly desirable West Vancouver becomes unavailable, buyers increasingly shift to neighbouring areas, driving up the prices there as well.
“I think it’s certainly going to affect the prices in those outlying areas,” Shyiak said. “But the prices in Vancouver Westside and West Vancouver are completely out of whack with Surrey and Abbotsford and North Vancouver for that matter. You can find very affordable family homes in the outlying areas of the Lower Mainland.”
According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the benchmark price for detached homes in the western city in December rose more than eight per cent from the year-ago period, to $1,002,200. Sales in December also rose more than eight per cent, to 2,116 in December.
The price of townhomes in the city rose 4.5 per cent over the year-ago period, to $476,800. Condo prices rose to $380,700, up 3.5 per cent from December 2013.
“While home buyer and seller activity created balanced market conditions within the region, we also experienced some upward pressure on home prices over the course of the year,” said Ray Harris, the president of REBGV.
“Detached homes continue to be the most sought after property type in our market. Detached homes in Metro Vancouver have increased 8.1 per cent in value over the last 12 months while townhome and condominium properties have increased 4.5 and 3.5 per cent over the same period.”