2012 A Real Estate Year in Review

Looking back, 2012 was remarkably different than 2011.  In 2011 , there was a lack of West Side detached houses offered for sale and a surplus of off shore buyers lining up to buy. We witnessed multiple offers, sale prices way over asking and a media blitz stating that the “Vancouver housing prices were going to go sky high” – and they did. Yet the media and conversations over dinner, coffee and parties lumped all of Vancouver’s crazy real estate gains under one umbrella. In fact the condominium / townhouse market was in a completely different category; this market was slow and even saw a slight decline in values.


In January 2012, the situation changed: we saw a collapse of off shore buyers, an introduction of tighter lending regulations, a continued global economic crisis and the media using the word “bubble”. The number of properties offered for sale increased dramatically and the sluggish market activity in the condominium and townhouse market stalled. The Vancouver West Side detached houses offered for sale by mid-year had gone from a norm of nearly 600 listings to over 1100 listings. We were officially in a buyer’s market with a large supply of listings and little demand.


The artificial pricing, set solely by the off shore buyers, began a much needed adjustment. The local buyers could take their time, shop many properties and negotiate their offers to acceptable terms. The market was now headed in a direction that the local buyers could support.


Bubble or not, there were some healthy adjustments made to prices, most notably in larger lots on the Vancouver West Side; we witnessed:


  • West Side detached house prices drop by 15% – 30% especially in July through October.
  • West Side condominium/townhouse market saw a 4% – 7% price correction.
  • East Side detached house prices dropped by 6% – 10% especially in August through October.


This correction was backed by a steady decline in the number of properties offered for sale; this correction coupled with a locally supported market has increased confidence and activity. With a steady decrease in the number of properties offered for sale, record low interest rates, locally supported market and a return to buyer confidence we are hoping for a healthy 2013 real estate market here in Vancouver.