British Columbia

Vancouver real estate shifting to first sellers' market in 4 years

Low interest rates and limited supply of homes for sale saw the highest sales-to-listings ratio in Vancouver since March 2011.

First time the sales-to-inventory ratio crossed threshold to sellers' market since 2011

Sales were up 20 per cent in February in Greater Vancouver compared to the 10-year average. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

The latest real estate numbers for Vancouver confirm what agents and buyers have been noticing: it's been a hot winter, and shifting toward a sellers' market.

In February, Metro Vancouver home sales were up 20.2 per cent compared to the 10-year average for the month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Listings also increased — up 11 per cent from the 10-year average for February — but not enough to meet demand.

"This is a very, very strong February, stronger than normal," said board president Ray Harris.

"I think it's the low interest rates ... and there's a lack of detached homes in the market place."

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board called last month its busiest February since 2007.

Sellers' market on horizon

Low supply has continued to drive house prices up in Vancouver, despite slumps elsewhere in Canada, according to new research by RBC Economics.

In February, Metro Vancouver saw the sales-to-active-listings ratio jump from 17 to 25.7 per cent, the first time in four years it's crossed the threshold of 22 per cent that signals the start of a sellers' market.

It was the highest the ratio has been in Metro Vancouver since March 2011, said Harris.

"One month does not make a market, but three consecutive months over 22 [per cent] would be a clear indication that we would be in a sellers' market," he said.

In the Fraser Valley, the sales-to-active-listings ratio was 26 per cent for detached homes, 22 per cent for town homes and 12 per cent for apartments.