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Housing supply, sales best indicators of Metro Vancouver prices: realtor

Last Updated Jan 3, 2020 at 6:36 pm PDT

The Canadian Real Estate Association says national home sales were up 12.9 per cent in October compared with the same month last year following months of growing activity. A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
Summary

The first thing he says buyers should know is not to expect a bargain, property assessments don't determine prices

Looking at average prices is also not the best way to understand the state of the market

As the supply and demand lines get closer, and as inventory goes lower -- there is the potential for rising prices

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Assessed property values are down in most of the region but property taxes have gone up. Home sales were down in December but up when compared to the same month last year. Prices dipped but have started to go up.

So what does it all mean if you own a home or want to buy one?

Vancouver realtor Keith Roy says the data is confusing both buyers and sellers.

“The confusion we’re seeing in the market place is people are getting these assessments thinking that the prices are down. But in reality, inventory is down, activity is up and prices are levelling if not increasing right now. So it’s a whole confusing bunch of metrics that are happening in the Lower Mainland.”

RELATED: ‘Signs of a softening market’: Property values decline in Metro Vancouver

The first thing he says buyers should know is not to expect a bargain.

“The buyers out there right now are licking their chops because the assessments have gone down and they’re thinking, ‘Oh great, I’m going to get an even better deal next month.’ But prices don’t follow assessments.”

He says it’s crucial to understand the assessments are based on the market value as of July, 2019 and this year’s assessments don’t accurately reflect market-value.

“Tax assessments are based on a government estimate of your home compared to other homes,” he explains, adding assessors never set foot in the homes they valuate whereas realtors do.

RELATED: Vancouver home sales down in December from month earlier, but up YOY

Looking at average prices is also not the best way to understand the state of the market.

“The people who look at the average price to determine when they should buy and when they should sell are usually too late. Following average price is the wrong metric. The number you want to look at if you’re trying to make a strategic decision about the real estate market is the activity

It comes down to supply and demand.

For example, there were a near-record low number of condos in East Vancouver for sale in December, but the number of sales doubled year over year.

Roy says as the supply and demand lines get closer, and as inventory goes lower — that points to the potential for rising prices.

“It’s very possible that we are at the cusp of another Vancouver resurgence,” he explains. “Vancouver has proven a very resilient real estate market in a very short period of time and based on the current numbers we could be heading in that direction. There’s a lot of pent-up demand right now but I believe we’re at the lowest inventory we’ve been in ten years.”