May Stats

May stats are out, and surprise surprise, the market is still strong.  We sold slightly more properties than May 2006, and  2.3% fewer than May 2005. 

New listings are 6.42% higher than may 2006.  Total inventory is up 23.4%, reaching 11,749 units, compared to 9,524 units in May of 2006.

Days on market has dropped to 37, which is the 4th consecutive month to see a drop in DOM. 

The inventory numbers and DOM number aren’t that far off what we see in my area (low 12,000s for inventory and low 30s for DOM).

The big news, apparently, is that the benchmark price for a detached home has broken the $700,000 mark.  I say “apparently” because the news release highlights and Derrick Penner of the Sun called me for my take on it as well.  I can’t say that I’m too surprised.  We’ve seen the average sale price ratchet up steadily, so that these days we see price tags in the $500,000+ range much more often than in the $400,000 price range.  We’ve also seen relatively strong sell/lists.

Apartment sales increased 1.6% YOY to 1,789 from 1,760. Benchmark price is $358,428, up 11.5% from last year.

Attahced sales decreased 4.5% YOY to 737 from 772. Benchmark price is $439,317, up 10.8% from last year.

House  sales increased 2.3% YOY to  1,805 from 1,765. Benchmark price is $711,245, up 11.8% from last year.

The rate of appreciation is slowing, as we’ve seen in prior months, but the market is still strong. Sell/list for May was  70.43%.

Average house price reached $852,428. Average attached price reached $470,518. Average apartment price reached $377,160.

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43 Comments

Filed under Monthly stats

43 responses to “May Stats

  1. Domus

    Rob:

    I told you that it’s good for you to have large bear traffic…..now even the press calls you up.

    I cannot but feel a bit of pride: without the bear talk your traffic would be less than half!

    What did you tell the Sun: I hope you did better than Cam Muir used to do…..that is, cheerleading IMHO……

  2. robchipman

    Domus:

    Don’t be too quick to pat yourself on the back. I’m pretty sure Derrick Penner knew who I was before you did.

    If you want to know what I told him, I hate to tell you, but you’ll have to buy his paper!

  3. e

    is that right? port moody benchmark down 10% vs 3 month avg? typo perhaps?

  4. -A-

    “May stats are out, and surprise surprise, the market is still strong.”

    No surprise to me, Rob is using the same old tricks of the trade.

    The brief version:

    YOY looks good, but he forgot to tell us, he is comaparing this May’s stats to May 2006 which was down about 18% from the previous year.

    Inventory rising again.

  5. e

    whats with the stats? anybody know how the benchmark price on the very last page of the package is derived?
    b/c april2007 benchmark home price 794k.
    may2007 benchmark home price 856k
    so that means the benchmark home went up 8% in ONE MONTH? that is a hot market!

    seems to me that the figure is highly suspect/unreliable.

  6. Domus

    Rob,

    I am sure you were a celebrity in the Vancouver RE world before I was even born 🙂

    In any case, I am happy you get media exposure. Whatever the disagreements I may have, I always enjoy your blog and your numbers.

    So what’s your take, apart from the “hot market’ headline?

    Slowdown, but no worries?

    Tell me one thing: pick a young couple with child, say they make a joint 75 k and are looking for a two-bed apartment in area with no junkies. Say they find something for 470k and they plan to maybe stay for 5 years before upgrading to something larger: would you suggest to buy now or rather in 24 months from now?

  7. robchipman

    -A-

    Get a grip.

    To quote my post.

    “We sold slightly more properties than May 2006, and 2.3% fewer than May 2005”.

    If you can’t figure out what that means I’ll fill you in. In May ’05 we sold 4,434 units. In May ’06 we sold 4,297. In May ’07 we sold 4,331. ’06 was down 3.1%, not 18%. ’07 is down 2.3% from May ’05.

  8. mike

    Yeah, Rob is up to his old tricks. He single handedly pushed the benchmarket over 700 and the average up to 852.

    I say we blame global warming on Rob too, while we’re at it.

  9. robchipman

    Domus:

    I’d go over the facts with them and let them make their own decision.

    How long ago would you have started telling them to wait? Would it still have been 24 months, even if you told them, say, 6 months, $28,500 and 8.6% ago? Or 12 months ago, $37,000 and 11.5% ago? How clear, exactly, is your crystal ball? When did you decide we’d come close enough to the peak?

  10. confident

    what are the “facts” you would discuss with those folks, Rob?

  11. Snick

    I have noticed some substantial SFH price reductions here and there. I think this may have lured some of the recent buyers. They think they’re getting a “bargain”. Not.

  12. Domus

    Rob,

    fair enough, there was (and still is) substantial appreciation. And then again, if you bought 4 years ago you probably half won a lottery, as things stand now.

    Nonetheless, I would make the argument that people who bought in the past 18 months are very susceptible to price adjustments, even after recent appreciations. So, I would not think that they locked in great deals.

    I guess this is a difficult one to decide: you certainly have recent history on your side and your judgment may seem sound based on that. I feel I have long-term history on my side, and my judgment seems to me very sound based on that.

    I would tell the young couple today to wait this out, exactly as I would have said last year.

    I would have not said that 4 years ago, trust me on this one…..

    Cheers for the numbers anyway!

  13. Skeptic

    Domus, I missed replying to you in Friday’s thread about Johnnyrent’s San Diego numbers (been away with work).

    If you look carefully at his figures, only two areas out of 5 are down by greater than 20% and then only in relation to new homes rather than resales. In total, we are talking about 300 homes, if you look at the total column, 3,000 sales are mentioned for all areas and new/resale. Talk about contorting the figures to suit.

    In addition, the table doesn’t name any source, etc and its credibility is therefore suspect, or do you believe everything you read on the internet ?

    Later on in that thread you talk about immigration being down, you still don’t get it. Immigration is not down, go look at the Sauder data again, I posted the links for you. Immigration is people coming from overseas (rich foreigners with bags of money). The figures that are down are population growth. Misquoting figures from other sources just confirms that you don’t understand them.

    If you read more and posted less, the quality would likely improve.

  14. marob

    Rob, thanks for the May stats. What source do you get all of your numbers?

  15. vanreal

    I am sure that the bears will manage to put a negative spin on the May 2007 stats. I believe A has already tried. The standard bear line seems to be “yeah be just wait they’ll be down soon.” They have been saying this for four years now. Soon they will be right, but I don’t think they’ll get the 50%price drop some of them are hoping for.

  16. vanreal

    Also anecdotally, (although I truly hate anecdotal info) the two opens I went to this weekend were PACKED with people. Some I am sure are looky lou’s but some are real buyers.

  17. News Flash

    “buy now or rather in 24 months from now?”

    IF you have the cash and can afford it – BUY NOW.

    Why pay 20% + more in 24 months? The market is smoking hot.

    If you CAN NOT afford to “buy now” then it doesn’t really matter anyway.

  18. Snick

    “Immigration is people coming from overseas (rich foreigners with bags of money). ” -Skeptic

    Where have I heard THAT before? Hmm…

    Is it the upcoming Olympics? The climate? Scenery? Stephen Harper’s charisma?

  19. Domus

    “If you read more and posted less, the quality would likely improve.”

    Thank Skeptic, I am flattered as usual. It’s nice to be appreciated….. don’t expect any less from you.

    After your truly enlightening comments, I have been thinking what the reply. I chose the really easy way…..facts:

    1) Johnnyrent’s post shows widespread negative patterns for prices. Two localities are 5% down, and other teo localities are 20% down. Can we agree this is not a “flattening” of prices?

    2) Johnnyrent’s post shows figures net of inflation: if you want the real figures you have to add US inflation. Does 3% sound reasonable?
    In that case we have real depreciation of over 30% (one third!) in one case…..

    3) Regarding reliability of figures: I always take them with caution. Based on my previous experience bloggers’s estimates tend to be more accurate than main-stream media figures, which are often coming from commercial groups or real estate associations. This view is often reflected in the innumerable citations some bloggers lately are getting from financial sites. certainly I give these estimate the same a-priori reliability that I give to other sources, until proven wrong….

    4) In any case the calculation of Johnnyrent’s post confirm the anecdotal evidence from CNN, which you can read almost on a daily basis. No disagreement there.

    5) This is the Sauder graph for population growth:

    http://cuer.sauder.ubc.ca/cma/data/Population/population-pctgrowth-vancouver.pdf

    It is the lowest in the past 20 years, by far.
    Now, if you take the immigration figures (link is http://cuer.sauder.ubc.ca/cma/data/Migration-Immigration/MigrationBC.pdf)
    you will see that total immigration is around 14k for the past few years and well below the levels of the mid-1990s. Since Vancouver has grown in total population over the past 20 years, that means that the proportion of immigrants has been steadily decreasing as a share of total population.
    This is consistent with the lowest population growth in modern times in the GVRD.

    It does not really seem to me you can argue with the two basic facts, that are:

    – in San Diego there is strong evidence prices are plummeting, following the drop in volumes of the past 2 years;

    – Vancouver population is growing by the smallest amount it has ever done sine the early 1980s. Immigration, as a proportion of the population, is decreasing.

    Take it easy, man…..life is too short to spend your time waiting for my next post…..

  20. Skeptic

    Snick:

    “Where have I heard THAT before? Hmm…”

    Can’t help you with your short term memory problem.

    “Is it the upcoming Olympics? The climate? Scenery? Stephen Harper’s charisma?”

    I don’t know.

    The point here is that Domus was saying that because immigration was dropping, home prices would fall also. I’m saying that because immigration is not dropping, the impact on home prices is probably zero.

  21. Snick

    Why do you assume that any of these people have bags of money?

    (I think you’re a bit stuck in the “Hong Kong Handover Fever” of the 1990’s.)

  22. bakakuse

    This market is still hot people, not with lineups but still hot.

    I try to be objective and use this site as a barometer of what the market is doing. I am a bear, but if there are more buyers than sellers or the buyers think they must get in now or don’t care………

    Rate hikes are coming, the Can’tada dollar is too high, these are a few clouds on the horizon….. but the market is still on fire, I admit.

    Thanks for the numbers Rob… Thanks to the central banks for rewarding almost every speculator in the real estate and equity markets for the last few years, and may Asia keep their market share and never try to improve their margins.

  23. -A-

    I was wrong, Rob is right. I mistakenly used April 06 sales and shoud have used May o6.

  24. Domus

    Hey Rob,

    can you clear my reply to our old friend Skeptic?
    There are a couple of links that i would throw in, just to disguise my ignorance and pretend I am a factual guy……

  25. Domus

    Hey Skeptic,

    how are you mate?

    Just to give you an advance, before Rob gracefully allows my reply with the links to Sauder:

    1) San Diego prices have dcreases of 5% in two loocalities, and roughly 25% in other 2. There is a 4% increase in only one locality.

    2) These are nominal yearly fugures. If you add inflation (roughly at 3% in California) you will get your final figures: over 30% drops in prices in one locality, between 10 and 25% drops in other 3 localities and close to zero appreciation in the remaining one.

    3) The source is as reliable as Rob’s numbers: I take those seriously and I don’t see why you wouldn’t. In fact, in many ways I take bloggers’ numbers more seriously than main stream media numbers (often fed by realtors associations and commercial groups);

    4) Immigration: look at the Sauder data. It is hovering around 14k in the graph. It was double that in the mid-90s. In the meanwhile population has grown, which means immigration as a percentage of population has been going down.
    This is reflected in the population growth graph: lowest population growth in 20 years and heading towards zero…..

    Did you get or shall I start teaching you how to count?
    Man, I know you bought your apartment recently and feel scared, but don’t take it out on the messenger….I am just relaying the facts.

  26. tqn

    last summer, some mentioned that we should wait until the spring to spot a trend or to get a clearer picture. here comes spring and running into the summer slowdown – shoul we wait for another spring, or two, or three to arrive to spot the trend? oh well, at least, the sky is not falling today when may stat arrived.

  27. tqn

    “Did you get or shall I start teaching you how to count?
    Man, I know you bought your apartment recently and feel scared, but don’t take it out on the messenger”

    calm down, dont be so upset cuz he got one and you didnt. your time will come!

  28. wise_investor

    More business immigrants are landing in BC/Vancouver than any other Canadian destination (ie. 2005 – 6,512 of 13,469). I’m not sure what bags of money means but you can decide what amount can make a positive economic impact if you consider the minimum required by CIC from their site just to get through the door:

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/business/bi-faqs.html

    Throw in another 22,000 or so skilled worker immigrants arriving each year and our dependency on foreign $ to keep real estate prices high becomes apparent.

    All else being equal if strong foreign investment and economic immigration to Vancouver continues our current property valuations will be supported.

  29. R.E. TARD ED

    We’ll Rob you mentioned before that a cure for hot prices is even hotter prices. So you mean we’re this last jump the stupidity level rises higher whcih could trigger a correction? A few guys at work are beggining to liquidate there homes. Our boss sold his apartment block for a offer he couldn’t refuse another is selling of his 2nd investment home saying the stupidity is to all new highs and it’s obviously way out of wack.

    So whats your take, Rob? When’s this glut going to happen. The short seller’s are starting to head for the exits…

  30. Domus

    It’s a bull ring tonite……

    All right guys, since you are having some fun then why not check the Sauder numbers on Vancouver demographics:

    http://cuer.sauder.ubc.ca/cma/van_dem.html

    Once you have read those, you can come back and rewrite your posts.

    Note: please, look long and hard to the population growth graph and then move your pinkies on the keyboards and let me know what you think……

  31. mike

    It’s more important where the people are coming from and how much money they have, then how many of them there are.

  32. Domus

    Right, 6000 rich guys come to Vancouver, where 2.3 million people live, and they buy all the shoebox apartments…..that’s a good theory.

    Now, if you told me luxury homes on the west side I might even agree. But it is Vancouverites and Canadians who are buying the small fish homes……

  33. Gadwin

    >vanreal wrote:
    >I am sure that the bears will manage to put a
    >negative spin on the May 2007 stats. I believe A
    >has already tried. The standard bear line seems
    >to be “yeah be just wait they’ll be down soon.”
    >They have been saying this for four years now.

    The median price for detached dropped from $480,000 to $473,000 from April to May of this year:

    http://www.fvreb.bc.ca/statistics/Package%20200705.pdf

    This is probably relevant to those who believe in the Price Decompression Theory that outlying areas are the first to drop before the inner city:

    http://langley-financial-planning.blogspot.com/2007/04/rebgv-march-statistics-and-inventory.html#links

  34. robchipman

    Domus:

    You see where I’m coming from. However, if someone can decide to get married on their own, and have kids (like the guys in your scenario) it seems a little presumptious of me to tell them whether they should buy or not. I’d draw the line at providing them information and advice, and I’d let them make the decision.

    You’re right that people who have bought within the last 18 months may still see “negative growth”. However, with every passing month they become safer and safer. And, frankly, you’re not taking into account a lot of other potentialities. Let’s say your couple has a double. One couple bought 12 months ago for $400,000 with a $300,000 mortgage. They’re paying $1750 @ 5%. The other couple waited.

    The place couple one bought has gone up 12% as of today. By the end of this year it reaches 15%, and then increasing interest rates kick in and prices start falling. By May 2008 rates are 7.5%. The $1750 gets a similar couple $238,000 in mortgage money. We need a 20% correction (from the 15% increase) for them to even come close to being even.

    Couple one’s place increased to $460,000. A $20% drop brings it to $368,000. Couple two buys the same proeprty with $100,000 down and a $268,000 mortgage at 7.5%. Payment is $1960.

    And that’s just a start. I guess I’m saying a lot of different things can happen.

    Confident:

    I’d swamp them with facts. There’s no shortage of them. I’ve sold to people who have monitored this blog. They’ve been exposed to both sides of the argument.

    marob:

    The stats come from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

  35. first_time_buyer

    LOL rob, no wonder they show up at 3:45 PM again and no show for today’s numbers yet. Maybe you want it to get as much exposure as possible. Would we see June stats as well at 4:00 PM? Guess, that depends. On what? that is an open secret.

  36. robchipman

    First time:

    You really owe yourself some better conspiracies.

    Derrick Penner from the Sun called me today for my comments on the stats, in particular breaking $700k as a benchmark. After hanging up I pulled up the stats and posted this thread. (Usually month end stats get posted when I do my mailouts, which is usually the 2nd or third week of the month).

    Later I went home and worked on my house. I listened to the game, then caught the last period on TV.

    Then I ate dinner.

    Then I went and played hockey.

    And now I’m doing the stats.

    Is that ok?

  37. Skeptic

    Domus, your points 1,2 and 3. Here are the official numbers: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/business/20070516-9999-1b16housing.html

    The numbers you posted don’t have any identifying marks, can’t even be tracked back to the original blog and don’t detail the method of collection.

    The numbers in the article above come from a more credible source in my opinion.

    Point 4. So now you agree that immigration numbers haven’t changed, great, we are getting somewhere. It’s pointless talking about what was happening in the mid-90’s, property was flat then. Since 2001, property has been going up and immigration numbers have been constant.

    Yes, I take your point on population growth, it is dropping. Now what goes into this figure ? What about people having less children, would that be shown in this figure ? How many children do you know who buy houses ?

    Rob, nice work with the scenarios for two couples, couldn’t have explained it more clearly myself. 😉

  38. Strataman

    Rob Said; “I’d draw the line at providing them information and advice, and I’d let them make the decision.” which is what a good realator should do. My wife and I sold our two bedroom condo 18 months ago, made a pretty penny and are renting now. We thought a correction was due then! Was our decision, if Rob had told me to do that I would be parked on his doorstep! So now we wait cause we are actually becoming priced out. If it doesn’t correct to 2005 prices we are hooped. I still think it will (someday) but here we sit!

  39. jim

    Rob:
    I asked you question about conflict of interest. Did you delete it?

  40. robchipman

    Yeah, Jim, I saw it, and responded, but again, for some reason the response never turned up.

    I have a hard time believing it was a serious question. If it was I can only conclude that you don’t read or don’t remember a lot of what I say.

    Its also a little weird that you’d ask what appears to be a “When did you stop beating your wife?” questions based on suspect assumptions.

    I probably over-analyzed it, because I finally decided that it was a soft lob.

    For those interested, you asked:

    “Rob: Is there a conflict of interest in being a large property owner, such as yourself, and therefore having a vested interest in continued RE appreciation, and advising clients that real estate is not likely to decline in value anytime soon?
    Or do you steer clear of commenting on wether or not real estate is poised to decline, or that further appreciation is likely?
    I would think a balanced approach for your clients would be to incorporate an element of market direction; over say a 1 year, 2 year, or 5 year, time frame. And if so what do you point to as likely market direction predictors?”

    I’m almost at a loss when it comes to where I should start.

    -I’m not a large property owner. I do own multiple properties.

    – I have a vested interest in continued real estate appreciation, but then, so do most people. I don’t have a vested interest in the kind of double digit increases we’ve recently seen. I’m a long term holder. I don’t need rapid appreciation. Rapid appreciation makes it tough for me to sell to clients and makes it hard for me to buy for myself.

    -I don’t advise clients “…that real estate is not likely to decline in value anytime soon”. You’ve heard me say, many, many times, that the market will change, because it always does. You’ve heard me say, time and time again, that investors have to prepare to hold long term and weather inevitable downturns. What you really seem to be asking is why I don’t share your opinion with my clients to the exclusion of all other opinions.

    -I don’t steer clear of commenting on anything real estate related with my clients. My goal is to have clients for life. If they are investors I try to sell them property that I want to manage for them, long term. If they’re principal occupiers I want to sell them property that I will re-list and sell for them later, while buying them subsequent property. If they never plan on moving I plan on selling them investment property. Taking a short term view would be stupid, and would be an abdication of my agency responsibilities to my clients.
    – I tell clients that for my numbers to work they have to make an assumption of 5% annual appreciation. That’s “they” and “assumption”. I don’t dress it up.
    -I discuss specific downsides with all clients. (How will you feel if the market crashes the day after you buy? Are you prepared to wait, possibly a long time, for values to come back should they fall? Are you aware that we’ve had several years of record results recently? Do you understand that they are not common and won’t continue forever?)
    -I prepare a long term plan for any clients who are interested in one. I’m not as good at it, perhaps, as Jeff Brown, but I make the effort. His purposeful plan articles and podcasts are linked here, btw, and I’m surprised that you’d either miss that or ignore the obvious implications of it.
    -I don’t point to likely market predictors. That’s a mugs game, as you well know. If someone has enough money to invest in real estate and is ready to take action they either know enough about it to make a decision or they’ll never understand what they’re doing, regardless of what you tell them. There comes a point when people become irritated with the obvious. I reach that point earlier rather than later with most clients, and have to explain that the information I disclose (I’m paid to do this, I owe you these specific duties, this contract binds you in these ways, this fine print means this in practice, the market can go both ways, you might lose your money, etc..) has to be done, at least once, whether they like it or not, so that I can confirm that they understand what is, often, blatantly obvious.

    If you’re still with me, Jim, I think you can see why I’m puzzled. It seems to me that you’re either throwing me a softie so that I can explain how professional I am, or you’re projecting some questionable values on me. I don’t need the former and I kind of resent the latter. I have a hard time thinking you’re not throwing me a lob, because if I actually bit on the incriminating questions you’ve thrown (No, I don’t talk about possible price drops, and yes, its in my interest to pump the market, and yes, I avoid touching on the arcane details of real estate, no, I don’t do long term plans, etc…) out the obvious question would be: Why do I share so much information so openly, if I’m trying to trick people?

    How’s that for an answer?

  41. tqn

    Hi Rob,
    Could I get your credit card, bank account numbers, and DNA sample as well? And I said, please…

    On a serious note, thank Rob for the insight; learn a bunch.

  42. Skeptic

    Rob, your response is kinda deep. Its turned into a bit of a thread killer. I think you’re being way more defensive than necessary. You know where you stand and if you’re comfortable with that then you’ve got nothing to explain to the peanut gallery.

    You’ve been blogging for long enough to spot this tactic a mile off. When the bears don’t like the message they take a few pot shots at the messenger.

    Now can we please get back to discussing Vancouver’s red hot RE market ?

  43. robchipman

    Yes, Skeptic, the response is deep, and you may think I’m being more defensive than necessary. I disagree. If Jim had asked me his questions in person he would have either had a very wide smile or received a severe dressing down. That kind of question is way, way offside, and he’s smart enough to know it.
    Blogging is new. There really aren’t a lot of rules, but it doesn’t make sense to engage in too much gratuitous conflict. There are many audiences.
    Jim actually asked the question twice. That puts me in a tough spot. I think it reflects badly on me if I ignore him, and I think it reflects well on me if I call BS on him. As for this being a thread killer there are two observations: there are more threads, and if you post something that seriously questions my character or credibility you’re probably going to get a thread killing answer.
    Bad behaviour exists everywhere, not just in the blogosphere, but I don’t have to tolerate it.

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