I hope your August is off to a fantastic start. It is so nice to see that Summer has finally arrived. I thought it was never going to come!
July was a crazy time for our Real estate market. The consensus is that the spring market the COVID-19 pandemic took away is now here. There were more listings, more sales and appreciation in price in every housing class. We have also transitioned to a Seller’s market in every housing class including luxury properties and homes with acreage, which is the first Seller’s market I have seen in this property class in a long time.
With interest rates as low as 1.95% on a five-year fixed rates from the big financial institutions coupled with buyer’s spending more time at home than ever before there is no wonder that folks are feeling the need to upgrade, move east and enjoy more space. Especially given that so many more people have the opportunity to work from home.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the long term; I don’t feel that these interest rates are sustainable, and I also feel like our supply won’t remain this low as owners impacted financially by the pandemic who deferred their mortgages etc. will have to bare those cost sooner or later which could cause them to be forced to sell.
An influx of supply coupled with increased interest rates could put downward pressure on pricing. It will also be interesting (I guess interesting is a word we can use for scary) to see how the US election will impact the financial markets and the Real-estate markets.
I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can’t help but feel like a Bull real-estate market in the middle of a Pandemic doesn’t make sense.
Here is a video I made detailing the stats and how I feel about this market, I have also detailed the numbers in the body of this email….
MLS HPI Pricing
To start this discussion let’s look at the HPI pricing for the four housing classes we examine in the Fraser Valley; Apartments, Townhomes, Detached homes and homes with Acreage.
Apartments Median Pricing;
July 2020- $437,300
Townhomes Median Pricing
July 2020- $563,200
Detached Median Pricing
July 2020- $1,008,000
Homes with Acreage *average pricing used no HPI index
July 2020- $1,898,544
Low interest rates, pent up demand and lack of inventory are putting upward pressure on prices in every housing class. While there has been a tremendous number of new listings hit our marketplace over the last couple of months our base of inventory was completely eroded by the pandemic.
Sales to Actives Ratio (S/A)
Now let’s look at the Sales to Active ratio. I love the sales to actives ratio as a metric to determine the speed of the market and who is favoured in specific housing classes. If the sales to actives ratio is between 12% & 20%, we define this as a balanced market. Less than 12% favours the buyer, greater than 20% favours the Seller.
July 2020- 24.3% (seller’s market)
June 2020- 24.6% (seller’s market)
July 2019- 20.5% (seller’s market)
July 2020- 44.7% (seller’s market)
June 2020- 36.6% (seller’s market)
July 2019- 24.3% (seller’s market)
Detached Homes (S/A)
July 2020- 32.7% (seller’s market)
June 2020- 24.9% (seller’s market)
July 2019- 15.4% (balanced market
Homes with Acreage (S/A)
July 2020- 21% (seller’s market)
June 2020- 12.7% (balanced market)
July 2019- 8.9% (buyer’s market)
Quite simply when there is low inventory, active buyers looking for upgrades as well as record low interest rates there will be upward pressure on pricing. In addition to these factors some of the restrictions on landlords around marketing and selling their tenanted properties have been lifted so we are seeing properties that were for a time unsalable now being able to be sold.
Quite simply, active listings are the number of homes for sale in a given housing class across the Fraser Valley.
Total Active Listings
July 2020- 6219
June 2020- 6087
July 2019- 7593
July 2020- 1768
June 2020- 1656
July 2019- 1677
July 2020- 1241
June 2020- 1233
July 2019- 1575
July 2020- 2653
June 2020- 2626
July 2019- 3593
Homes with Acreage
July 2020- 381
June 2020- 395
July 2019- 495
Our aggregated inventory is still historically low which is part of the driving force behind the market shifting holistically to a seller’s market. As we will see in the coming section, “Sales” the amount of transactions have increased dramatically which will continue to put upward pressure on prices and continue to drive are market further to favouring the seller.
The number of transactions in a given housing class.
July 2020- 430
June 2020- 407
July 2019- 343
July 2020- 555
June 2020- 451
July 2019- 382
July 2020- 867
June 2020- 655
July 2019- 554
Homes with Acreage
July 2020- 80
June 2020- 50
July 2019- 44
Buyer’s appear to be more willing to move through the pandemic than sellers are. With the number of transactions exceeding that of the historic norms and very low aggregate inventory the market is shifting rapidly to a seller’s market. What has yet to be seen is that if this is a function of pent up demand or if these are true markers of a shift that is happening in the market. At the end of February, it appeared we were going to have a very strong market in 2020; has the pandemic simply pushed that back by a few months or are we seeing pent up demand? Or is this all a function of interest rates…
If you have a crystal ball, I would like to purchase it from you 😉
Listings that came onto the market in a given month.
July 2020- 866
June 2020- 815
July 2019– 677
July 2020- 805
June 2020- 820
July 2019– 652
July 2020- 1395
June 2020- 1342
July 2019– 1067
Homes with Acreage
July 2020- 118
June 2020- 105
July 2019– 101
While the aggregate of inventory is still historically low Sellers are deciding to get their homes on the market in more volume than historic norms. It will be interesting to see how fast the aggregate of inventory returns to normal and whether this will put downward pressure on the sales to actives ratio.
Where I see the biggest opportunity right now-
If you have been considering upgrading your townhome to a detached home or selling your detached home and buying that little piece of heaven in Brader or Yarrow or the like now might be a good time to move forward.
You will be buying into a slightly softer market than you are selling out of.
I also think it is a good time to “flip” a townhouse or a detached home as the majority market LOVES a turnkey purchase and there is an obvious lack of inventory.
As with any real-estate purchase I would move forward cautiously and ensure that no matter what you’re buying you have the financial ability to ride out a downturn in the market. Make sure that your employer is not relying on government benefits to keep you employed etc. make sure your job is stable.
I can’t help but think as inventory recovers and interest rates return to a more normal level we will see downward pressure on pricing and I can’t help but think that the US election in November (no matter who wins) will be a volatile force.