There's no shortage of homes available for sale these days in Vancouver, and those hoping for better bargains in one of the world's least affordable housing markets may get their wish soon.
The latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) shows the number of homes for sale in the region jumped by 27.7 per cent in January, compared to the same month a year earlier.
From December to January, the number of homes for sale jumped a massive 244 per cent. While it's normal for the number of houses for sale to jump after the holidays, this is an unusually large increase. Last year, the increase was around 100 per cent.
Meanwhile, sales dropped 39.3 per cent in January, compared to a year earlier, REBGV reported.
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Taken together, this means Vancouver's housing market is now a "buyer's market" for all housing types. Only 6.8 out of every 100 detached homes on the market sells in any given month. For townhouses, there are 11.9 sales for every 100 on the market, and there are 13.6 condo sales for every 100.
What's more, the city is headed for a deluge of new housing units set to hit the market over the next couple years, giving buyers even more options. Some 40,000 new housing units are expected to hit the market over the next two years.
Earlier on HuffPost Canada:
People aren't feeling the need to rush into buying a house in Greater Vancouver these days, REBGV president Phil Moore said.
"Realtors are seeing more traffic at open houses compared to recent months, however, buyers are choosing to remain in a holding pattern for the time being," he said in a statement.
Prices are coming down for all property types, with the benchmark detached home price coming down 9.1 per cent in the past year to $1.45 million, down around $150,000 from a year ago.
Still, for homeowners who bought before the slowdown of the past few years, that represents a sizeable gain.
Condo prices are down 1.9 per cent in the past year, to $658,600, but have fallen 6.6 per cent in the just past six months.
Stress test takes the blame
In what is now a common refrain, the city's real estate board is putting the blame squarely on the mortgage stress test that was put in place a year ago.
"Economic fundamentals underpinning our market for home buyers and sellers remain strong. Today's market conditions are largely the result of the mortgage stress test that the federal government imposed at the beginning of last year," Moore said in a statement.
"This measure, coupled with an increase in mortgage rates, took away as much as 25 per cent of purchasing power from many home buyers trying to enter the market."
According to Royal Bank of Canada's index of housing affordability, detached homes are considerably more expensive, relative to incomes, than they have ever been in Vancouver. Condo prices are at their highest levels since a real estate bubble three decades ago, but are not at record highs.
"Demand has weakened so much that the few buyers out there are now able to get some price concessions from sellers," RBC said in a report issued in late December. "We expect prices to decline somewhat in 2019."