A total of 617 sales were processed through the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in January, a decrease of 23 per cent compared to 799 sales during the same month last year. January 2013 ranks as the second slowest for that month in the last thirteen years, second only to January 2009 during the global recession.
Scott Olson, president of the board, says there is a distinction between what REALTORS® saw four years ago compared to today. “People want to buy. We’re already seeing early signs of a typical spring market with more foot traffic at open houses and an increase in calls.
“Buyers have been holding off in hopes that prices will drop more, however it’s become clear that sellers are only willing to go so far. Prices for typical homes in the Fraser Valley have decreased by only two to three per cent in the last six months and in January we’re starting to see a reversal of that – in half of our communities prices have crept back up.”
Olson suspects the market stalemate may be coming to an end. “The number one reason people buy a home is a lifestyle decision – you need a bigger home, a smaller one, closer to work or school – so when the right home comes along you can only wait so long.
“With interest rates as low as they are, our local economy as strong as it is and prices so tenacious I think we’ll see the effects of this pent-up demand and a return to more balance in the market.”
In the last six months, prices for all three residential property types combined have decreased by 2.5 per cent while year over year they’re on par, showing an increase of 0.7 per cent. Of the three property types, prices of single family detached homes have been the most resilient, increasing 1.5 per cent in the last year going from $532,700 in January 2012 to $540,500 last month.
For townhouses, the benchmark price in January was $293,700, a decrease of 2.0 per cent compared to $299,800 during the same month last year. The benchmark price of apartments in Fraser Valley in January was $200,400, an increase of 1.2 per cent compared to $198,000 in January 2012.
REALTORS® added 2,643 new listings in January, 4 per cent fewer than the same month last year. This decreased the number of properties available in the Fraser Valley to 8,031, a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to January 2012. By historical comparison, January 2013 ranks as the third highest in terms of active listings in the last decade.