Price parity keeping home listings low: agent

‘Difficult to downsize or upgrade to a home 30 to 60 kilometres away when the home prices are nearly identical’

Housing prices are now similar from the eastern Fraser Valley to Greater Vancouver | Photo: Western Investor

The supply of homes listed for sale across B.C. is at a historical low, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

There were 19,214 active listings in October across the province, down nearly 40% from October 2020, and an all-time record low, the BCREA reported.

In Metro Vancouver, active listings fell to 8,034 in October, a 35.3% decrease compared with October 2020 and down 13% from September 2021.

Home inventories have fallen for five consecutive months in both Metro Vancouver and the province.

“The story across the province continues to be the record low number of listings,” said Brendon Ogmundson, chief economist of the BCREA, who added lower listings are reported in nine out of the 10 real estate boards in the province. The outlier is Powell River, where listings increased 4% in October, year-over-year.

“Rising mortgage rates should start to temper sales activity next year, but even with a moderation in demand it will take quite some time for the inventory of homes to return to a healthy level,” Ogmundson said.

A key reason for the lack of Metro Vancouver listings, according to veteran Vancouver real estate agent Kevin Skipworth, is the price parity now being seen across the region.

For example, he noted, the composite benchmark home price in New Westminster is lower, at $749,200, than in Chilliwack, where it is $800,000.

“In October 2019, just three years ago, the composite home price difference between Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley was $272,500. This October that had narrowed to less than $150,000,” said Skipworth, managing partner with Dexter and Associates.

He added that it now costs nearly the same to buy a detached house in East Vancouver, at $1.71 million, or North Burnaby ($1.74 million), as in South Surrey-White Rock, where the October benchmark price was $1.76 million.

“Many homeowners are reluctant to list because their exit strategy has been blocked,” Skipworth suggested. “It is difficult to downsize or upgrade to a place 30 or 60 kilometres away when the home prices are nearly identical. “

In October, the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board reported 3,455 home sales, but only 4,120 new listings were added to the market. With an 86% sale- to-listings ratio in the month, nearly every listing that came on the market found a buyer.

Data from 10 real estate boards across the province paints a similar picture of rising prices, high demand, and low supply, the BCREA noted.

Across B.C., 9,593 homes transacted in October, a 14% drop from the same month last year, while the average price of a home rose 19% to $964,777.

Western Investor