Metro Vancouver housing market shows resilience in 2023, ending the year in balanced territory


From the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

The housing market in Metro Vancouver concluded 2023 with a state of equilibrium, concealing a narrative of unexpected resilience amid the highest borrowing costs witnessed in over a decade.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the total residential sales for the region in 2023 were 26,249, reflecting a 10.3% reduction from the 2022 figure of 29,261 and a significant 41.5% decline from the 44,884 recorded in 2021. Despite these numbers, last year’s sales were only 23.4% below the 10-year annual sales average of 34,272.

Andrew Lis, the director of economics and data analytics at REBGV, highlighted the strength of the Metro Vancouver housing market in 2023, emphasizing that the mortgage rates, the highest in over a decade, did not deter buyers. Lis noted a five-plus percent increase in home prices across all market segments, contradicting the predictions of many forecasters.

Listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver totaled 50,893 in 2023, a 7.5% decrease from 2022. However, the current number of homes listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,802, a 13% increase compared to December 2022.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,168,700, showing a 5% increase over December 2022.

The key theme for 2023 is the scarcity of homes relative to willing and qualified buyers. Sellers hesitated to list their properties early in the year, leading to fewer initial sales. This reluctance, combined with near-record-low inventory levels in the spring, resulted in upward pressure on prices as buyers competed for the limited available homes.

Looking ahead to 2024, there is anticipation of insight into the market’s response if mortgage rates were lower. Bond markets and forecasters are projecting lower borrowing costs, with modest rate cuts expected in the first half of the New Year.

In the December 2023 summary, residential sales in the region reached 1,345, a 3.2% increase from December 2022. New property listings for December 2023 increased by 9.9% compared to the previous year. The sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2023 is 16%, with varying ratios for detached homes, attached homes, and apartments.

Sales of detached homes, apartments, and attached homes in December 2023 experienced increases, with corresponding benchmark price changes. Despite challenges, the Metro Vancouver housing market demonstrated resilience and stability, leaving room for cautious optimism in the face of changing economic conditions.