Vancouver’s previously red-hot real estate market is presently languishing in a general state of malaise right now, the degree of which depends on which side of the equation you are viewing things from. Things aren’t exactly bad, but the one thing that everybody seems to agree on right now is that things aren’t exactly all that awesome either. A sentiment of apathy seems to linger in the market at present, and I don’t see it changing significantly anytime soon…
In the lower mainland we have roughly a 50/50 split, meaning that 50% of us rent and 50% of us own. If you presently rent and have been holding off a purchase for prices to come down before buying, it’s been a frustratingly slow wait. With such high real estate values the first time buyer especially finds it challenging to find an affordable entry point into the market, so even recent modest declines of 5% translate into big savings.
Sellers have had to scale back their expectations because not only have property values stopped climbing they have tapered back by roughly 5% in value. Properties that would previously have sold out in a day with multiple offers have given way to properties sitting for months. Interestingly, for houses that aren’t selling the prices aren’t dropping by much - the vast majority of sellers have just taken the property off the market rather than accept a lesser value. With sellers unwilling to take a loss supply is reduced and available inventory becomes more limited for buyers to choose from.
Realtors too have their own version of malaise in this indifferent market. Realtors are small business owners and operating costs are perhaps surprisingly significant depending on the brokerage you belong to, so when business drops off for a prolonged period of time it doesn’t just adversely impact Realtors only. Because the Real Estate industry is a huge employer in BC, the domino spin-off effects touch many other businesses as well so the malaise stretches far and wide.
The best news for all concerned is that within this mediocrity there is still good opportunity for everyone to win. For buyers, 5% less or better is a fantastic discount to ease the pain of still expensive real estate values. For sellers, the good news is that those high property values have still been retained even though prices are a bit off from the highs. And for Realtors, it’s an opportunity to hone skills, revisit your core principles, and deliver fantastic, reliable service to remain truly valuable and relevant to your customers :)