April 25 Market Update

Weekly stats update courtesy of the VREB via Marko Juras.

April 2016
Wk 1 Wk 2 Wk 3 Wk 4
Unconditional Sales 367  678 977
New Listings 502 887  1295
Active Listings 2600 2601  2641
Sales to New Listings  73% 76% 75%
Sales Projection 1168 1188 1192
Months of Inventory


Sales are on a very steady pace running about 42% above last year at this point.   The only interesting thing about this week is that active listings have finally ticked up a bit, adding 40 to the total instead of the 1 that was added the week before.   It would do the market a lot of good to have some more selection out there, and luckily it seems we are on pace to handily outpace last year’s new listings.  Sales/list, while much higher than last year, appears to be plateauing too.

We are on track for April to not only be a record April, but another sales record for any recorded month.


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54 thoughts on “April 25 Market Update

  1. Wow! Quiet today. I guess everyone is buying or selling homes today and are unable to comment. 😛

  2. I was looking at a Ruby and Diamond ring in one of the antique stores on Fort Street and the owner showed me the appraisal at twice the price he was asking for the ring.

    I told him he should fire his appraiser.

  3. I don’t have the answer either Hawk.. but having lived in banana republics…I am glad not to live in Argentina nor India…(their currencies aren’t getting any stronger last time I checked)

  4. “By the way.. doesn’t that chart look like Vancouver R.E. ?”

    Just like the historical household debt level chart that far exceeds where the US housing crashed.

    Ignoring the bond market will be devastating to those who think this is just the beginning. “Catch up” is a such a fantasy island cliche.

    It’s getting dangerous out there in the bond market

    ‘Complacent’ Investors?

    “People are complacent,” Fabrizio Fiorini, chief investment officer at Aletti Gestielle SGR SpA, which oversees more than $17 billion, said from Milan. “Time is against the long end of the bond market. Even if an increase in bond yields may not be so strong, the positions are so huge that the damage can be massive.”


  5. OK.. I see where there is an issue finding a reliable chart…(particularly since 2008 US money supply has exploded)

    so here it is… compare 1970 – 2008 M1 vs Victoria average RE Prices…

    (after 2008, believe whatever you want)


    Notice the flat period between 1995 and 2000 …(on both charts)

    Between 1983 and 1987 there was a commodity crash (Trudeau’s National Oil Policy kicked in) that kept Victoria prices at bay (as well as western Canada) but it played catch up…

    That commodity lag may be replaying right now…hence why everyone is astonished at the recent price jumps in Victoria RE.

    Unfortunately the chart is pointing straight up… gulp…

    Bottom line… if this were a monopoly board…the banker just keeps adding cash every time you pass GO…some people bust out… but at the end of the night…there is so much monopoly money floating around it makes the starting amount of $1000 seem like peanuts…

  6. You can get things appraise all you want. It’s what it sells for that tells the real market value!

  7. As for Gold vs Realestate… You are only looking at capital appreciation. You need to incorporate the income as well. Then compare 100k in gold vs Realestate from 1980 till now.

  8. LeoM, I wouldn’t call that art, I would call it collectables. My comics I can sell, my art inherited from my parents? Worthless. Nice original paintings from Alberta artists. The First Nations art had some value though but it’s collectable. Gold is a good hedge investment as a soft asset. Hard asset it’s rubish. You buy it retail for four times it’s worth. I had a very nice ring appraised at 5k. Could not sell it for years. Almost at an auction but it didn’t meat my reserve. Ended up selling online for $350 EU…..

  9. AG… you are only pointing out part of the picture… Interest rates were high in 1980 and a positive return through 2000…but as rates declined Housing went up…

    Fair enough….

    Did you do a money supply comparison?… I suspect not.. because it would have cleared this up…

    The Washington Agreement was the second coming of Charles de Gaule…

    This isn’t about GoldBugs..this is about yardsticks…

    How do you sell the dollar? You buy houses or other hard assets…
    Why do you sell the dollar? because they aren’t making any more (facetious laughter)


    If you think that … you missed the point….

    I’ll leave if to you to take a moment and run a $US money supply chart against Victoria R.E. and then come back and tell me how out to lunch I am…

  10. I remember the old Victoriastruth blog was mostly full of gold bugs and gold discussion. I’ll just leave this here and see if they come out…

    Fiat currency

  11. Feb-1980 Gold price ~ C$800
    Todays’ gold price = C$1567

    1980 SFH price ~ C$95,000
    Today’s SFH price = $663,000

  12. AG… I really didn’t cherry pick… because if you look at Victoria avg houses in 2000 …that’s when they started moving up as well…in fact I congratulated a Calgary neighbour for having bought his house next door to me at the time…

  13. It was the Washington Agreement… that was the key…but I am not going to turn this into an argument. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything…I am pointing out facts…
    But if you want a clue.. just go get yourself a US money supply chart and post it against Victoria Real Estate…(too bad they hide the #’s now) .. also do the chart against gold to 1980’s if you care…

    PS .. I hope AG doesn’t stand for Alan Greenspan .. chuckle 😉

  14. @ db

    What if you take the Feb-1980 price for gold and Victoria housing?

    2000 was the recent low for gold so I can see why you come it, but it hardly makes for an unbiased analysis.

  15. das… let me point something out…
    In 2000 you could buy gold for $250 and silver for $4 (keep in mind this is $US as well) but to simplify, ignore that for a moment…
    The average Victoria house was $250,000
    so based on Gold at $1250 – the average Victoria house would have to be $1,250,000
    so based on Silver at $17 – the average Victoria house would have to be $1,062,500

    I am not denigrating house performance (due to tax free status of Principal Residence vs Investment House/R.E.) but at the same time Gold/Silver in a tax free RRSP is also a comparable.. So leave taxation out of it…
    Then there is the leverage question…vs Carrying costs (annual taxation or rents/mortgages)
    Then there is the Lack of portability
    Then there is the Exchange rate (currency protection) you can’t protect a Canadian house against a devaluation (not just against $US but globally as in British Pounds, Euro’s etc)

    Not to complicate things…just an observation…

    I do agree.. Jewelry is an emotional consumer purchase..it isn’t a hard asset in the true meaning…

    Now, I am not advocating one asset over the other.. I am just pointing out the difficulty in dismissing hard assets in general versus housing..

    Victoria Housing has yet to catch up…

    Now in Cdn$
    in 2000 – Gold was $400 cdn – now $1600 so $250,000 avg house would now be $1,000,000 cdn.
    in 2000 – Silver was $6.40 cdn – now $20 … so $250,000 avg house would now be $781,000

    Maybe housing is catching up after-all…

    and if they keep printing those colourful pieces of paper… 🙂

  16. @db that’s why I think the boomers will still favour Realestate especially income generating. I can see reverse mortgages being popular, selling to kids, but also downsizing which also involves buying. This is possibly why the drive for rancher houses in the core with suites bellow. The perfect boomer downsize. Oh… Your jewelry box will buy a lot less house than cash. Try it, really. Put a piece for sale. You will get 1/4 the retail value…

  17. There are a lot of boomers needing cash at retirement. So there will be at least more selling Realestate in the not so distant future. Need to downsize, reduce expenses, pay for living etc. Hard assets aren’t going to be top of the list for them IMO. Maybe income generating RE but physical gold and jewels and art? Buying that just halves your money instantly.

  18. Mike Grace said: “Bond yields marching higher this week. Fixed rates are headed north across the board. ”

    That is expected as the 1%er’s continue selling existing soft assets (bonds) and refuse to buy new soft assets. The savy investors are selling soft assets and buying hard assets such as real estate, land, art, jewels, gold… Treasury bills/bonds auctions have to pay higher rates to keep investors buying and that forces mortgage rates higher. The next big question will be; When will investors start cashing-out hard assets to buy soft assets? Not anytime soon, IMHO.

  19. I think the variability in month to month medians is so misleading. Although not great at picking up recent changes in direction, I really love the 12 month rolling average of monthly medians. It flattens all seasonality and is remarkably stable as an indicator of trend. I am going to add a metric to the automatic market summarizer to comment on the slope of the price trend and how it is changing

  20. I thought we had reached our affordability level for Victorians the way median prices were bouncing around $625,000 for most of last year. We got richer all of a sudden and could pay more for housing.

    Sale Price, Median
    Month 2013 2014 2015 2016
    Jan $540,000 $576,250 $542,500 $655,500
    Feb $590,000 $579,000 $597,500 $681,500
    Mar $574,750 $568,950 $625,000 $740,000
    Apr $610,000 $599,450 $631,200
    May $551,250 $609,450 $620,250
    Jun $585,000 $583,000 $629,450
    Jul $570,000 $576,000 $610,000
    Aug $556,100 $595,000 $659,500
    Sep $575,000 $585,000 $640,000
    Oct $579,500 $570,000 $677,250
    Nov $555,500 $569,000 $620,550
    Dec $571,750 $561,250 $672,500

  21. I was looking at the wrong data set. I was looking at active listings and not new listings.

    Except for January, new listings have been keeping up with the previous 3 years. It’s active listings that are down from the previous years.

    Active Listings, Number of
    Month 2013 2014 2015 2016
    Jan 648 579 493 347
    Feb 724 651 567 378
    Mar 793 718 626 418
    Apr 838 815 706
    May 905 882 715
    Jun 889 874 691
    Jul 870 805 657
    Aug 795 727 598
    Sep 794 710 547
    Oct 747 632 467
    Nov 664 550 437
    Dec 543 465 341

  22. You don’t like the 80% or you don’t like the agent being correct? 8 out of the last 10 years active listings have increased.

    I thought your 80% referred to sales slowing. My bad.

    A reversion to the mean implies house prices are too high relative to past years.

    No, because there is no sensible mean for house prices

    I had thought that we had established a price ceiling for buyers from Victoria the way prices were bumping along the top at around $600,000 for the last couple of years through such low inventory

    There was never a price ceiling. When inventory was high and sales low prices were declining. When inventory tightened up prices were increasing. When inventory and sales reached critical levels prices shot up. Just plain supply and demand no artificial ceilings.

    So what happened to make people stop listing their homes for sale?

    Nothing. New listings are relatively high. People are listing their homes just sales are so high it’s not enough to compensate

  23. You don’t like the 80% or you don’t like the agent being correct?

    8 out of the last 10 years active listings have increased.

    How accurate can you make any prediction anyway. A reversion to the mean implies house prices are too high relative to past years. While the percentage of Victorians buying has dropped 2 or 3 percent the total volume of sales has increased by more than 20% and the same with prices.

    I had thought that we had established a price ceiling for buyers from Victoria the way prices were bumping along the top at around $600,000 for the last couple of years through such low inventory. Yet somehow Victorians have been able in two or three months find some more spare change in the sofa and obtained greater access to financing and larger down payments.

    Right now there is only 3 weeks of house inventory for the core districts. There was no indicator that would have shown such a drop as a possibility during all of 2015. So what happened to make people stop listing their homes for sale?

    Was it the scare of low oil pushing us into a recession that kept home owners from making any new decisions to list but then why would sales increase?

    Is it that more Asians are seen on the Ferry coming to a tourist town or our own colonist crying that “the Vancouverites are coming, the Vancouverites are coming”

    Anyway someone yelled fire and people ran to the real estate kiosks

  24. Bond yields marching higher this week. Fixed rates are headed north across the board. Borrowing is about to get a bit more expensive for home buyers in the next month. Hopefully this brings a modicum of sanity to the market, but I’m not gonna hold my breath just yet.

  25. I wonder what the lowest MOI on record is.

    1.6 in March 2004. Note that the MOI I chart above is for the entire market. In other words it is residential sales / Inventory where the Inventory includes both residential and commercial units. What I report as monthly MOI is actually the more accurate residential MOI and is a bit lower.

    Given that a certain number of listings will always be stale or mispriced, I find it hard to believe that MOI can go much lower than this.

    We are essentially there. You’ll notice that MOI has more or less flatlined since March. Down a tiny bit, but not a lot.

  26. I suppose the best way to give a prediction is that there is an 80 percent chance that the agent is correct based on past performance of the market.

    Eh? Please elaborate.

    The hottest spring months are March, April, May. So yes, sales will slow after May or June because they always do in the fall. Also you could argue based on mean reversion that since we are at record levels of sales, it is highly likely that over time it is more likely for sales to fall than to rise.

  27. Triple A rated

    The agent is looking back over the last decade or so of listing activity. And for 8 of the last 10 years active listings have increased from May to mid-summer.

    The Law of Demand states that as prices rise fewer people can afford to buy and that’s likely why he expects sales to slow.

    I suppose the best way to give a prediction is that there is an 80 percent chance that the agent is correct based on past performance of the market.

    Of course this may not happen as know one knows the events that will happen in the future. That’s why it is just a prediction.

  28. At an open house last weekend a Realtor told me that he expected a lot more listings from May until around Mid July. He also expected Sales to slow.

    Can anyone support this with a multi year average or at least compare years suitably compared?

  29. “Sorry, my critiques of stupidity will continue unabated.”

    As will my critiques of obnoxious behaviour.

  30. Introvert can you please stop poisoning the comments section with your childish ad hominem attacks on Just Jack?

    Sorry, my critiques of stupidity will continue unabated.

  31. The pricing discrepancies right now are certainly going to cause a lot of pain later. Prime example: those people who recently paid Oak Bay prices for a house in Fernwood.

    Equally, if you’re living in Fernwood, now is probably the best time to try to upgrade to a nice place in South Oak Bay. The frothy behaviour in the 600-900k range doesn’t seem to be quite so evident when you go over 1m.

  32. Introvert can you please stop poisoning the comments section with your childish ad hominem attacks on Just Jack?

    If you don’t have anything useful to contribute, you should go away and insult some people on Reddit or 4chan.

  33. When you say a recreation property is this a commercial enterprise or a summer family home?

    Some people choose to use an appraiser from Vancouver. But what happens is the appraiser ends up getting the data from a Victoria appraiser anyway.

    The most thorough commercial appraisers that I know have retired so there isn’t much selection. Best just to stick with a big commercial firm that has years of back data such as DR Coel.

    As for residential, I like Amanda Mills or Dean at Kors and associates. Both are thorough appraisers and you’ll get your money’s worth.

    So how do you order the appraisal (s). I would suggest that both of you agree on an appraiser and instruct the appraiser that BOTH of you are his/her client. Just to emphasize that this is to be a fair market value.

    Then if this isn’t satisfactory, both of you could engage another appraiser or get a real estate agents market evaluation or have another appraiser conduct a review of the market value estimate using the physical property information contained in the other appraisers report.

    If you decide that each of you will retain your own appraiser make sure that you’re ordering the same type of service and neither one of you is trying to influence the appraiser. It happens from time to time when someone orders an appraisal that they try to influence the direction of value to the high end or to the low end. A good appraiser won’t take the assignment on those conditions. That’s why it’s best to ask for a range of value along with the appraisers opinion.

    The key to a good appraisal report is that the appraiser should check and cross check the value conclusions and as you read through the report you should come to the same conclusion as the appraiser before reading his/her opinion.

    As for averaging the value of the reports. I know that this is common practice but you should really base your decisions on the thoroughness of the report. A good appraisal will stand out from a mediocre one.

  34. Anyone wish to give a “wrong” opinion of what they think will happen for the rest of the spring market.

    Is Just Jack the only person who has difficulty understanding that as time passes one can objectively conclude which prior opinions were more “right” and which were more “wrong”?

  35. On a completely different topic. I am going to be buying my brother’s half of a family recreation property on a low-volume (real estate txns) gulf island. The plan was that each of us would hire an appraiser and average the results (with a option of a third appraisal if the numbers are uncomfortably apart).

    Any recommendations for an appraiser (Jack?) or comments on this approach.


  36. Vic West is considered part of the core and so is Esquimalt, Saanich West and View Royal

    For housing Vic West has more in common with Esquimalt because of the restrictive access across bridges and both areas are usually lumped together because of the few sales and listings.. But you can also include some parts of Victoria proper with Vic West such as Hillside, Mayfair, Burnside and Fernwood/Oaklands. These are mostly starter home areas that have a higher turn over rate of owners than some other hoods in the City.

    There is not much up for sale and not much in the way of sales in Vic West.

    For example there is only one house listed for sale in Vic West..

    That one house has been listed for 17 days now and has been priced similar to homes in Fernwood. In the last 30 days there have been 4 sales from a low of $510,000 top a high of $891,000. The prices paid being slightly lower to what a similar home would sell for in Fernwood/Oakland

    The days on market is greater in Vic West than Fernwood so while the average is just below 30 days the market isn’t as “hot” as Fernwood at 8 days.

    So how hot is it?

    Well a home purchased in April 2010 at $400,000 resold at $510,000
    A home that sold in January 2011 at $520,000 just resold at $549,000
    Another purchase in April 2006 at $430,000 resold at $584,000
    And the last was purchased in May 2014 at $750,000 and resold at $891,000

    You should notice that the price increases are not consistent across all properties. That’s because this isn’t an increase in overall demand which would make all properties increase relative to each other. This is a supply problem where people are racing around town trying to find certain types of homes without much regard to neighborhoods.

    It’s important to understand the difference because when supply returns to the market there will be a lot of unhappy buyers who will find that they may have paid hundreds of thousands over market value. Hopefully those buyers are all from Vancouver.

    I think anyone moving from one city and trying to buy into another market should pay for unbiased analysis. I just finished working with a retiree from Alberta that has been trying to buy a condo. For the last few weeks I’ve been consulting with him on what is a fair price to pay in various complexes. And yesterday he was successful and bought himself a well located 2-bedroom condo at a fair price.

  37. thanks for the stats- any stats JJ on Vic West/Esquimalt? (which also seem to be caught up in the bidding war madness.)

    Serious question- I’ve always been curious why they aren’t considered part of the “core”?

  38. And here is a further breakdown of new listings to sales in the core districts for detached housing

    April 1 -7 there were 127 new listings to 86 sales (1.5:1)
    April 8-14 the ratio was 89:95 (0.9:1)
    April 15-21 the ratio was 103:87 (1.2:1)

    This is the median house price in the core so far this year

    Month Sale Price, Median
    Jan $655,500
    Feb $681,500
    Mar $740,000
    Apr $753,349 partial month

    Generally, a ratio between 1.5:1 to 2.5:1 illustrates a market where new listings are replenishing the sold properties leading to stabilized prices.

    For the same weeks a year ago those ratios were

    And this is what was happening to prices in the first and second quarter of 2015 when new listings were in balance with sales.

    Month Sale Price, Median
    Jan $542,500
    Feb $597,500
    Mar $625,000
    Apr $631,200
    May $620,250
    Jun $629,450

    Anyone wish to give a “wrong” opinion of what they think will happen for the rest of the spring market.

  39. I wonder what the lowest MOI on record is. Given that a certain number of listings will always be stale or mispriced, I find it hard to believe that MOI can go much lower than this.

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