Are you thinking of buying or selling your home, townhouse or condo? With experts everywhere making different real estate predictions and advice coming from all directions, it can be extremely hard to know if you should buy, sell or stay. Use the following findings from the Vancouver real estate market analysis (second quarter 2011) to better understand the industry and to plan your next move.

First, a little background: Vancouver is divided into two areas - Vancouver Westside and Vancouver Eastside. Vancouver Westside, which runs west of Main Street to UBC (now its own municipality) is the most expensive of the two areas. Vancouver Eastside runs east of Main Street to Boundary Road on the border with Burnaby.


Map of the west and east areas of Vancouver 

The April-June 2011 real estate market in Vancouver saw listings for houses, townhouses and condos in both areas decrease (same as this time period last year), but there was an increase in sales.

Year to date listings
(as of June 30, 2011)
2010 2011 %  Increase / decrease
Vancouver - East area 3,737 3,180 - 15%
Vancouver - West area 8,471 7,722 -9 %
Year to date sales
(as of March 31, 2011)
2010 2011  
Vancouver - East area 1,868 1,951 +4%
Vancouver - West area 3,794 4,225 +12%

The Vancouver real estate market saw sales in June dip lower than in May, with fewer multiple offers as we moved into summer. Interest rates have remained unchanged, with a five-year term at 3.8%. Vancouver's Westside house market continues to be driven by Mainland Chinese buyers - some are investors, some are immigrants and some are local Chinese buyers. Unofficially, the stats say that 80% of the buyers in this market are Chinese. Many of these buyers are short term flippers.

Vancouver Real Estate Prices - Market Trends

Vancouver real estate prices have been on a steady rise since the beginning of 2002. Prices peaked in the spring of 2008 before declining by about 20-25%. The market regained this loss by late 2009 through to spring 2010.

Prices in all categories of real estate are higher than they were a year ago. The market is now divided into two sections - the offshore buyers and the local buyers. The offshore buyer market (Westside houses and luxury condos) is outperforming the local market, and houses outperformed due to strong buyer demand. Take a look at the benchmark price for Westside homes vs. townhomes and condos over the last year listed below.

Who is Buying in Vancouver?

Local first-time buyers, trade-up buyers and Albertans are returning to the Vancouver real estate market, purchasing small condos for their kids who are going to school or luxury condos as vacation homes. There are still some investors in the condo market, purchasing suites under $500,000.The Westside Vancouver house market continues to be a  favourite with Mainland Chinese, who are also the main buyers for luxury condos over $2 million.

Vancouver Westside - June 30, 2011
  Houses Townhouses Condos
Total listings for 2011 2,105 796 4,821
Total sales for 2011 1,310 438 2,477
Average days on market (sold) 31 34 38
Average price/unit
$2,911,666 $935,716 $445,292
Average price/unit
$2,487,992 $607,997 $634,930
Average sale price/List price ratio 100% 98% 97%
Benchmark Price
(2011 vs. 2010)
+30.2% +8.7% +4.4%
Benchmark Price
(2011 vs. 2006)
+83% +35% +25%
Benchmark Price
June 30/2011
$2,068,675 $812,608 $522,678

Vancouver Eastside -  June 30, 2011
  Houses Townhouses Condos
Total listings for 2011 1,622 379 1,179
Total sales for 2011 1,053 234 664
Average days on market (sold) 25 31 33
Average price/unit
$1,070,300 $611,866 $445,292
Average price/unit
$870,408 $571,573 $356,058
Average sale price/List price ratio 100% 98% 98%
Benchmark Price
(2011 vs. 2010)
+ 14.5% + 10.6% +2.6%
Benchmark Price
(2011 vs. 2006)
+ 39.9% + 37% + 26%

*The benchmark price is a compilation of housing features Greater Vancouverites buy most.

What's Selling in Vancouver in 2011?

Vancouver Westside house sales:

17 sales under $1 million
504 sales between $1 and $2 million
364 sales between $2 and $3 million
206 sales over $4 million
Most expensive was $11,980,000
Least expensive was $628,000

Vancouver Westside townhouse sales:

32 sales under $500,000
165 sales between $500,000 and $1 million
129 sales between $1M & $3M
3 sales over $3M
Most expensive: $2,650,000
Least expensive: $282,000

Vancouver Westside condo sales:

1,092 sales under $500,000
918 sales between $500,000 & $1 million
73 sales between $1M & $2M
25 sales between $2M & $3M
29 sales over $3M
Most expensive: $5,600.000
Least expensive: $170,000

Vancouver Eastside house sales:

9 sales under $500,000
239 sales between $500,000 and $700,000
623 sales between $700,000 and $1 million
180 sales over $1 million (including one sale over $2M)
Most expensive: $1,381,000
Least expensive: $430,000 (lot value)

Vancouver Eastside townhouse sales:

62 sold under $500,000
51 sold between $500,000 and $1 million
No sales over $1 million
Least expensive: $388,000
Most expensive: $960,000

Vancouver Eastside condo sales:

596 sales under $500,000
69 sales between $500,000 and $1 million
Zero sales over $1 million
Least expensive: $135,000
Most expensive: $980,000

Overview of Vancouver property prices

The Vancouver real estate market continues to do well in the second quarter of 2011. The new listing total was 9.8% higher than the 10-year average for June, while residential sales were 7.3% below the ten-year average for sales in June. The house market continued to see the best appreciation. With sales slowing as we move into summer, the market is moving toward better balance between buyer and seller.

The end of the second quarter saw the market tipped slightly in favour of the buyers, whereas it was tilting toward the sellers in the first quarter. Alll categories showed average days on the market for solds is still under 40, and average list price to sale price ratios are between 97% to 100%.

*Insider Tip: The inventory is slightly on the low side, giving sellers an edge. If a property is priced right it sells in a month, so buyers need to make quick decisions when they find the right property.

Written by Maggie Chandler, providing trustworthy real estate services for 30 years