A Look Back At 2018’s Vancouver Real Estate Market

January 24, 2019 | Published by

As real estate lawyers, we pay close attention to the Vancouver real estate market, which has been a seller’s market for a couple of years now. Going into 2019, we’re starting the year in a transition period with many big changes occurring throughout 2018.

Here are, in our opinion, some of the most impactful trends in the Vancouver real estate market to occur last year:

Growing Real Estate Supply

Just over a year ago, we observed that 19,000 new real estate units were planned to be built in Metro Vancouver for 2018, noting that Vancouver’s housing availability was finally making its way to meet demand.

Whether or not supply would actually meet demand in 2018 was anyone’s guess at the time, but going into 2019 we definitely see a shift in the housing market where supply of real estate isn’t a constant shortage.

Empty Homes Tax

In March we wrote about the Empty Homes Tax, a tax of 1% of a property’s assessed taxable value to be placed on homeowners who do not rent their empty homes. This tax encourages owners to bring their homes into the rental market, instead of holding on to their property simply for investment purposes.

This tax was announced in 2016, and was enforced for the 2018 taxable year.

Rapid Increase In Real Estate Listings

In June, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported a shocking increase of 38% in the number of properties for sale, compared to numbers in the previous year. Month-over-month, we observed a 15% increase in June signalling a rapid increase in real estate listings.

However, this trend did not necessarily result in a shift to a balanced market; as the number of real estate listings grew, so did the price of property. The market did not yet favour buyers.

Real Estate Market Transition

A transition in the real estate market was noted in August, as fewer buyers in the market resulted in less upward pressure on prices. We noted this period as a potential opportunity for buyers to reevaluate their finances.

Real Estate Prices Declining

Vancouver finally observed a decline in real estate prices in October, coinciding with a 30% decrease in sales. The MLS Home Price Index marked a decrease in the composite benchmark price for all residential properties, by 1.9%. This was a 2-month decline in price, a potential sign of things to come.

Going into 2019, we’re expecting another year of change. Are you a homeowner who is looking to sell property before further changes shock the market? Or, are you a potential home buyer looking to finance the biggest purchase of your life?

In both scenarios, we are here to help – we provide conveyancing services to help buyers and sellers alike. Contact our real estate lawyers in our downtown Vancouver office today to ensure your transaction is done right, the first time.