Active listings dropping across the board in Fraser Valley

Apartment sales put pressure on supply as market hot spots like North Surrey create unbalanced market

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After posting its second-highest-selling year on record in 2017, the Fraser Valley real estate market is facing a steep decline in active listings across various communities within the region.

According to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), active listings fell 22.9% for townhouses in North Surrey, 58% for apartments in Abbotsford, 62.5% for townhomes in Mission and 29.6% for townhomes in Langley in December 2017 compared with the same month in 2016. Overall the region’s active listing rate dropped 2.8% year-over-year, signalling an unbalanced market with very specific hot spots.

New listings represent the total number of new units that came on to the market while active listings tabulate the available pool of properties at the time.

The most prominent drop in specific active listings for the Fraser Valley was apartments, which have dropped 13.3% year-over-year. Overall active listings also dropped for townhomes by 5.9% while they rose for the detached market (6.9%) year-over-year.

Laura June Lahdekorpi, a real estate agent with Little Oak Realty-Surrey, said not only is demand outstripping supply in the attached market, but also buyers are getting very specific in what they’re looking for in the Fraser Valley.

“We were all busy through the holidays,” she said. “In the last week of November and the first two weeks of December, personally I sold five condos. And we’re talking you couldn’t put a condo on the market without it going into multiples and selling instantly, even without subjects.”

She noted most of the properties sold at the end of the year were located within North Surrey. Lahdekorpi estimates there are around 3,000 listings in the Fraser Valley’s jurisdiction. For it to be a balanced market, there would have to be close to 10,000, she said.

“So that’s 7,000 properties that need to come on the market, right now, just to balance things out.”

Overall in 2017, the FVREB processed 22,338 sales, 7.3% less than the record of 23,974 sales set in 2016. The total dollar volume of sales was $15.7 billion, and of the total transactions for the year, 5,198 were townhouses and 6,183 were apartments, together representing more than 50% of overall market activity for the region.

Gopal Sahota, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, said all this demand has come from a major shift in market appetite in 2017 from homes to the attached market.

“All year supply levels remained below where we’d like them to be,” he said. “And that has put a tight grip on inventory and pressure on the pace of the market. This is still a challenging market for many consumers.”