Most of the data we rely on to evaluate our real estate market is concerned with the “whats”, “whens”, and “wheres” of the world around us, and less so the “whys” or the “hows”. Furthermore, our data almost exclusively reflects actions or events that happened in the past. Against this traditional information backdrop, how do we better understand why buyers and sellers make certain decisions? How do we gauge their views about the health of the housing market and their personal finances, and how does this influence their future housing-related intentions?
PREVALENT BUYING INTENTIONS
The proportion of respondents that indicated they plan to buy a home in the next 6 months rose to 33% in April, up from 31% in October 2021. If this proportion (33%) is expanded into the adult population of Metro Vancouver as a whole, and taking into account average household size, it translates to more than 380,000 households potentially taking steps, in the next 6 months, towards purchasing a home. Additionally, the proportion of respondents indicating an intention to sell their home in the next 6 months is approximately half of the proportion intending to buy (17% vs 33%); this suggests that the pre-sale market has the potential to play a significant role supporting housing demand.
AN EXPECTATION OF RISING HOME VALUES
One of the larger response shifts in our consumer sentiment survey between October 2021 and April 2022 was in the context of future home values. More specifically, 69% of respondents in our October survey said they expected home values to be higher in one year, versus 62% in our April survey. As well, the proportion of respondents who indicated they expect home values to be lower in one year doubled between October and April, from 8% to 16%. While these changes are material—and likely a function of some combination of rising interest rates, growing economic uncertainty, and home price fatigue—it is worth underscoring that almost 2/3 of respondents continue to anticipate that home values will rise in the next 12 months.
GROWING CONCERNS OVER PERSONAL FINANCES
More respondents indicated, as part of the April survey, that they expect their personal financial situation to be worse in one year (21%) than did as part of the October survey (15%). Again, this is not surprising when considered against the backdrop of too-high inflation and rising interest rates. Meanwhile, fewer respondents expected to be better off in one year in April (31%) than in October (34%). Overall, the most common response in April—equating to about half of those surveyed—continues to be that consumers’ financial situations will remain unchanged one year from now.
TAKEAWAYS FROM THE APRIL 2022 SURVEY
As it relates to housing and personal finances, consumer sentiment in Metro Vancouver has clearly shifted since October, with growing concern around worsening macroeconomic conditions. That said, residents continue to perceive the local housing market as being resilient despite the increased headwinds.
After reaching record-setting levels in 2021, home sale activity has returned to more typical seasonal levels in Metro Vancouver this spring due, in large part, to rising interest rates.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 2,918 in May 2022, a 31.6 per cent decrease from the 4,268 sales recorded in May 2021, and a 9.7 per cent decrease from the 3,232 homes sold in April 2022.
Last month’s sales were 12.9 per cent below the 10-year May sales average.
With interest rates rising, home buyers are taking more time to make their decisions in today’s housing market. Home buyers have been operating in a frenzied environment for much of the past two years. This spring is providing a calmer environment, with fewer multiple offer situations, which is allowing buyers to explore their housing options, understand the changing mortgage market, and do their due diligence.
There were 6,377 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in May 2022. This represents a 10.5 per cent decrease compared to the 7,125 homes listed in May 2021 and a 4.4 per cent increase compared to April 2022 when 6,107 homes were listed.
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 10,010, an 8.8 per cent decrease compared to May 2021 (10,970) and a 13.8 per cent increase compared to April 2022 (8,796).
For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2022 is 29.2 per cent. By property type, the ratio is 18.3 per cent for detached homes, 35.5 per cent for townhomes, and 38.1 per cent for apartments.
Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,261,1001. This represents a 14.7 per cent increase over May 2021 and a 0.3 per cent decrease compared to April 2022.
Upward pressure on home prices has begun to ease in the housing market over the last two months. Where home prices go next will depend on housing supply. While we’re beginning to see modest increases in home listings, we still need housing supply totals to more than double to bring the market close to balanced territory.”
Sales of detached homes in May 2022 reached 793, a 44.1 per cent decrease from the 1,419 detached sales recorded in May 2021. The benchmark price for a detached home is $2,093,600. This represents a 15 per cent increase from May 2021 and a 0.4 per cent decrease compared to April 2022.
Sales of apartment homes reached 1,605 in May 2022, a 21.7 per cent decrease compared to the 2,049 sales in May 2021. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $779,700. This represents a 15 per cent increase from May 2021 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to April 2022.
Attached home sales in May 2022 totalled 520, a 35 per cent decrease compared to the 800 sales in May 2021. The benchmark price of an attached home is $1,141,200. This represents a 21.5 per cent increase from May 2021 and a 0.6 per cent decrease compared to April 2022.