Luxury house at dusk in Vancouver, Canada

The number of homes changing hands in Metro Vancouver decreased last month while the number of properties available to buy climbed in tandem. 

In May, the number of transactions recorded over the MLS dipped compared to typical trends for this time of year in Metro Vancouver, according to the most recent insights from Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR). Residential sales hit 2,733 in May 2024, a 19.9% drop from the 3,411 sales the market saw in the same month in 2023. This total comes in 19.6% below the 10-year average for the month of May, which usually hits around 3,398 sales.

This slower pace of sales means the inventory of Vancouver homes for sale has been stacking up. Currently, there are over 13,000 homes actively listed on the MLS, leaving more options for buyers.

“The surprise in the May data is that sales have come in softer than what we’d typically expect to see at this point in the year, while the number of newly listed homes for sale is carrying some of the momentum seen in the April data,” said Andrew Lis, GVR’s director of economics and data analytics, in the board’s monthly release. “It’s a natural inclination to chalk these trends up to one factor or another, but what we’re seeing is a culmination of factors influencing buyer and seller decisions in the market right now. It’s everything from higher borrowing costs, to worries about the economy, to policy interventions imposed by various levels of government.”

New listings on the rise in May

There were 6,374 new listings for detached, attached, and apartment properties in May 2024, a 12.6% increase from the 5,661 new listings in May 2023, and a 7% bump from the 10-year average of 5,958.

Currently, the total number of properties listed on the MLS in Metro Vancouver is 13,600, a staggering 46.3% increase from May 2023, which had 9,293 listings. This number is also 19.9% higher than the 10-year seasonal average of 11,344.

“With market trends now tilting back toward more balanced conditions, as the number of new listings outpaces the number of sales, we should expect to see slower price growth over the coming months,” said Lis. “Up until recently, prices were climbing modestly across all market segments. But with rising inventory levels and softening demand, buyers who’ve been waiting for an opportunity might have more luck this summer, even if borrowing costs remain elevated.”

Sales-to-Active Listings Ratio hovers around 20%

The sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2024, sits at 20.8% across all property types. Here’s a breakdown by property type:

  • Detached homes: 16.8%
  • Attached homes: 25.1%
  • Apartment properties: 22.5%

Home prices generally face downward pressure when the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period of time. Conversely, when the ratio goes above 20% for several months, we often see upward pressure on home prices.

Home prices see slight increase

The MLS Home Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,212,000, a 2.3% increase from May 2023, and a slight bump (0.5%) from April 2024.

Here’s how the different property types are faring:

  • Detached homes: Sales reached 846, an 18.9% decrease from May 2023. The benchmark price is now $2,062,600, up 5.9% from last year and 1.3% from April 2024.
  • Apartment homes: Sales reached 1,338, down 22.7% from May 2023. The benchmark price is $776,200, a 2.2% increase from last year but a 0.3% decrease from April 2024.
  • Attached homes: There were 523 sales, a 14% drop from May 2023. The benchmark price is $1,145,500, up 5.2% from last year and 0.9% from April 2024.