Vancouver Housing Market Report
- Buyers are hard-pressed between low inventory and unaffordability in the Vancouver housing market.
- The average home price in Greater Vancouver was $1,283,729, which rose by 7.4% annually and by 1% monthly.
- The benchmark price of homes in Metro Vancouver is $1,208,400, representing a 0.2% monthly decrease and a 2.5% yearly increase in August 2023.
- Vancouver’s benchmark price exhibits a 28% increase over three years but is 4.3% lower than the all-time high of $1,262,600 in April 2022.
- Detached home average price increased by 18.1% year-over-year to $2.35M.
- Attached home average price increased by 0.5% year-over-year to $1.23M.
- Condo apartment average price increased by 1.5% year-over-year to $806k.
Greater Vancouver Housing Market Overview
In August 2023, 2,296 Vancouver houses were sold. These sales include 591 detached homes, 1,270 apartments and 422 attached homes. The average home price in Greater Vancouver was $1,283,729. This price represents an annual increase of 7.4% and a monthly increase of 1%.
In August 2023, the average sale price of detached houses, attached houses and apartments in Greater Vancouver was $2,351,415, $1,227,579 and $805,534, representing 8.8%, 0.1% and -1% change relative to July 2023, respectively. These prices also represent 18%, 0.5%, and 1.5% annual changes.
The benchmark price of homes in Metro Vancouver was $1,208,400 in August 2023, a 0.2% monthly decrease and a 2.5% increase year-over-year. Metro Vancouver and the Toronto area are the most expensive Canadian housing markets.
Vancouver has been a pricy housing market for years, and its current benchmark price has increased by 21% over the past five years, close to the CPI inflation of 18% over the past five years. Toronto’s competition with Vancouver regarding home unaffordability is relatively recent, as Greater Toronto benchmark home prices have climbed by 51% over the past five years to reach $1,141,400 in August 2023. This five-year growth translates into an impressive CAGR of 8.6%. This whopping 5-year growth is despite a 14% price decline from the peak of $1,322,000 in Toronto benchmark home prices in March 2022.
Benchmark prices of detached homes in Vancouver rose 3.2% over the past year and 0.3% over the past month to reach $2,018,500 for August 2023. Over the past three years, Vancouver detached homes' benchmark price has increased by $480k. This three-year price gain can buy a detached home in the Edmonton area.
Vancouver’s attached home benchmark price is $1,103,900, up 3.8% year-over-year but down 0.1% month-over-month in August 2023. Apartment benchmark prices increased 4.4% year-over-year and decreased 0.2% month-over-month to $770,000.
Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Home Price
Looking at Metro Vancouver's housing market, there were 10,082 active listings at the end of August 2023, down 0.2% compared to last year. The number of active listings is significantly below the long-term average for this time of the year.
The 3,943 new listings this month is an 18% increase year-over-year. The number of new listings is also below the long-term average for this time of the year. The 2,296 home sales this month are 23% higher year-over-year. These numbers put Vancouver’s sales-to-active-listings ratio at 23%, lower than 25% and 30% in July and June. Also, sales to new listings ratio was 58% for August 2023.
Over the past 18 years, the growth in Vancouver home prices has been much faster than either the inflation rate or wage growth. In other words, building houses (producing shelter) has been more difficult than making most other economic goods and services. Many claim that land is a limited resource, and thus, house building faces a natural limitation. This is incorrect as there is no natural limitation on increasing the population density.
For example, the population density in the Vancouver metropolitan area is 918/km2, while the population density in the city-state of Singapore is 7,800/km2. So, land is not the limiting factor for sheltering people. What is limiting the house building in Vancouver and Toronto area are municipal regulations imposed on the production of housing. This problem was quantified in the “Municipal Land Use and Regulation Survey”.
Over the past three years, interest rate expectations have been the main driver of the Canadian housing market. During the past 18 months, the Bank of Canada has raised interest rates to subdue CPI inflation. Between March 2022 and January 2023, higher Canadian interest rates pushed up mortgage rates and reduced borrowing power, reducing bids from investors and speculators. As a result, average Vancouver home prices dropped by 13% from their February 2022 peak to their January 2023 trough.
In January 2023, the Bank of Canada (BoC) announced a pause in raising the Bank of Canada’s policy rate, and the market started to look forward to lower mortgage rates. A combination of expectations for lower interest rates with the seasonal effect of the spring resulted in a resurgent housing market over the past six months.
But since May, Canada’s 5-year yield and Canada’s 10-year yield have both significantly climbed. As a result, fixed mortgage rates have risen, and expectations for a decline in variable rates are postponed.
The headline inflation rate has cooled to 3.3% in July, but if we annualize the 9-month inflation between October 2022 and July 2023, we arrive at a rate of 3.7%. This rate suggests that inflation will likely be sticky, and its descent will be bumpy and slow.
The forecast for Canada mortgage rates is that mortgage rates stay elevated for another year or so. Also, the 2023 mortgage rates forecast and 2024 mortgage rates forecast , and the 2025 mortgage rate forecast show a prolonged and modest decline. Markets were pricing a much faster decline in the first half of 2023 when the housing market accelerated. Thus, we think house prices have run ahead of themselves and are likely to stagnate or slightly decrease from here as the effect of past rises in interest rates continues to percolate through the economy.
Home Prices in Vancouver
Vancouver Housing Market Statistics for All Property Types in Metro Vancouver
Average Sold Price and Benchmark Price
Property Type Distribution
Market Overview for Detached Homes in Metro Vancouver
Average Sold Price & Benchmark Price
Market Overview for Attached Homes in Metro Vancouver
Average Sold Price & Benchmark Price
Market Overview for Condo Apartments in Metro Vancouver
Average Sold Price & Benchmark Price
Regulation of Strata Insurance
Condo owners in Vancouver and B.C. have recently faced significant increases in their their strata insurance rates. According to a 2019 report commissioned by the B.C. Financial Services Authority, strata insurance premiums in B.C. increased by on average 40% in 2019 alone. Owners in Metro Vancouver faced even greater increases with an average increase of 50%. These costs have placed a headwind to condo prices in Vancouver as condo fees adjust to the new costs.
In response to the financial hardships caused by strata insurance premiums and COVID-19, the B.C. Ministry of Finance recently announced an amendment that, along with a proposed bill, will:
- End referral fees between insurers or insurance brokers and strata property managers or other third parties
- Require strata corporations to inform owners about insurance coverage, policy changes, and allow use of the contingency reserve fund
- Protect strata unit owners against large lawsuits where the owner was not at fault
- Change the minimum required contributions made by strata unit owners and developers to a strata corporation's contingency reserve fund
These changes will help condo owners deal with the financial burden of strata insurance and open the industry to more transparency.What is Strata Insurance?
Greater Vancouver Area Breakdown by Region for August 2023
Glossary and Definitions
MLS® HPI: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) is an index by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) that tracks the prices of homes in a neighborhood. It allows Canadians to quickly compare home prices across Canada and between periods of time without having to account for specific features of a property. Unlike market prices, which can fluctuate from month to month based on seasonal dynamics, the HPI provides a stable view tracks trends across a longer period of time. The HPI is reviewed every year in May to adjust for changes in the real estate marketplace.
MLS® HPI Benchmark Price: The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark Price is the HPI translated into a real-world price number.
Strata Insurance: Strata insurance is insurance used by a strata like a condominium to covers damages to common areas and assets and liability to the strata. It can also include fixtures built or installed as part of the original construction of each unit, even though these may not be common structures. The insurance can cover:
- Buildings and structures associated with the strata including common areas such as the roof, parking garages, driveways, gyms, pools, etc.
- Liability for any property damage or bodily injury suffered on strata property
- Any fixtures that are part of the "standard unit" or original construction of each unit
Strata insurance does not usually include personal items and appliances that are part of a condo unit. It also does not cover the damages made by individual unit owners, such as in the case of water damage caused by a unit owner. These are usually covered by personal condo insurance.
Detached home: A detached home is your standard single-family home. It is a residential building that stands alone and is separately titled or legally a single unit.
Semi-detached home: A semi-detached home is similar to a detached home, except it shares a wall with another home. This pair of homes must make up an independent building and each should be separately titled or legally two separate units. There can only be two homes in a semi-detached building.
Townhouses: A townhouse is the middle between a detached/semi-detached home and a condo apartment. Like detached and semi-detached homes, they are often single-family units that have their own land and may be attached to other units. However, like condo apartments, they typically have to pay co-ownership fees for maintenance and may share some common features with their neighbors.
Condo apartment: This category includes all apartments and condominiums. These are complexes of residential units with common areas such as hallways, parking lots, stairwells, etc. They can be low-rise, mid-rise, or high-rise buildings. Unlike townhouses, there are no parts of the lot (the land of the building) where access is reserved for only one owner or occupant. There can be privately owned units and spaces inside the building.
Plexes are multi-story buildings with two to four individual units, usually one on each floor. They are a mainstay in Montreal and other cities in Quebec. Each unit is usually individually accessible via an external entrance with higher floors connected by staircases.
Freeholds: A freehold is any property where the owner owns both the house and the land it is built on. Common freehold property types include: detached, semi-detached, some townhouses, and farmland.
Condominiums: A condominium or condo is any property where the owner owns the home (or unit) but shares ownership of the land and other improvements with a condominium corporation. Common condominium property types include condo apartments and some townhouses.
Leasehold: Leasehold describes the situation where different entities own the land and the structure built on the land. Owner of the buildings has leased the land and pay rent to their landlord while owning the building on the land.
Housing Markets Across Canada
Data sourced from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Any analysis or commentary is the opinion of the analysts at WOWA.ca and should not be construed as investment advice. Please consult a licensed real estate professional before making a real estate investment decision. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.