The Times they are a-Changin'

A ‘buyer's market’ is a term used to describe a market where there are more properties for sale than buyers and for the first time since Christmas 2016, this is now the case for detached properties in Whistler.   A buyer’s market can also be labelled a ‘normalised market’ as it should provide buyers with more choice when house-hunting along with increased negotiating power when it comes to a sale. Despite the shift into a buyer’s market, what we’ll often see is sellers and their listing agents remaining optimistic and continuing to market their listings with an overvalued price-tag. This also occurs largely due to the fact there is persistently low inventory of houses for sale in Whistler. 

The three types of markets shown in the graph above, are measured by a sales-to-active listings ratio which essentially is the rate at which properties are selling.  Expressed as a percentage, you can calculate the ratio by taking the total number of sold homes in any month and dividing it by the total number of active listings at the end of the same month. The sales-to-active listings ratio for:
§  a seller's market, which means there are more buyers than properties available, is represented by a ratio of 20% or higher
§  a buyer's market is represented by a ratio of 14% or lower
§  a balanced market, where supply and demand are pretty much the same, rests between 14-19% 

Using the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver stats for May 2018 (above) you can see all three property types (Townhomes, Condos, and Detached) are on varied trends. Detached homes are declining away from a balanced market with condominiums and townhomes tracking upwards in a seller’s market.  

With 64 active listings for detached homes in May 2018, there were only three sales for the entire month. This equates to a sales-to active listings ratio of 4% (3 sales / 64 listings = .04), diving well and truly into a buyer’s market.  If you wind the clock back a year to May 2017, there were 17 sales from 54 active listings and a sales-to-active listings ratio of 31%, a clear seller’s market. 

When speaking of “the market” people often lump everything together. Interestingly though local markets are multifaceted as reflected in the condo and townhome sales compared to detached houses.  Condos are evidently in demand with a benchmark price hovering around $550K and 32 sales from 68 active listings last month.  Similarly, there were 13 sales from the 49 townhomes listed, which have a benchmark price of $1.1 million. In comparison, a detached house in Whistler now costs on average $1.7 million with only two of the 64 listings for detached properties carrying a price tag below $1.5 million. Sales are down by 82.4% compared to a year ago with not one of the 32 properties listed in the 3 million plus price range selling last month.  

Now that detached house sales have come to halt, it will be interesting to see if home sellers and their listing agents alter their listing strategies accordingly.  Or will we see expired listings increase and the sales-to-active ratio continue to hover in a buyer’s market into summer?  

A full market update can be found in the Activity Reports on my website homepage each month.  As a REALTOR® specialising in detached properties and acreage in Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, I encourage Sea to Sky Corridor buyers and sellers to use this information to plan their own approach to the market and reach out to me for any further information.