Nov 14 Market Update

Weekly sales numbers courtesy of the VREB.

Nov 2017
Nov
 2016
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4
Unconditional Sales 83  241  599
New Listings 157  387  786
Active Listings 1909  1916 1815
Sales to New Listings  53%  62%  76%
Sales Projection  569
Months of Inventory 3.0

Quite a strong week of sales to put us at the same sales pace as this time last year.   Or is it?  I was surprised at the high sales this week, which more than made up for the weakness in the first week and put us above the sales rate of this time last year which we haven’t seen for quite some time.   However my job is not to mindlessly post stats, so while searching for something intelligent to say about the market, I picked through the week’s sales.

As a reminder, the weekly numbers released by the VREB are not the sales from the week, but rather whatever listings were marked as sold that week (the complete and completely boring explanation is here).  Usually those sales are from the week or the previous one, but sometimes the sales that are entered are really old.   Like this week, where included in the tally were some sales from not last week, not the week before, not the month before, or the one before that, but sales from last year.  And it wasn’t just a few, it was 20 condo units of a new build out in Langford that sold a full 11 months ago but showed up in the weekly numbers just now.

So no, sales are not up compared to last year, they are down.  This just cements my belief that we need to get off the silly reporting date based numbers and get on an accurate count of actual sales pronto.   Luckily that is almost ready.

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Dark sales

All the data on this site are based on the sales and listings in the MLS database.   There are just under 6000 of those sales in a slow year, and over 10,000 in an insane one.

Thing is, while most sales happen on MLS, there are quite a few that are not captured there.  For new builds, only a small fraction are ever listed on MLS, and none of the private sales would show up there either.

How many sales are happening outside the MLS system?  Well one side effect of the province publishing foreign buyer data is that they are also publishing the total number of land title transfers every month.   Now that we have a full year’s worth of that data we can get a sense of the number of these dark sales.  Because sales are recorded when the contract goes unconditional, and title transfers happen on closing which is usually a couple months later, I’ve advanced the title transfer data to best fit the seasonal pattern. Continue reading