As I predicted, the Real Estate Board's statistics are now showing "buyer's market" conditions. This means that supply is ample enough to exceed demand and has lead to softening prices. As someone who is in tune with the market on a day to day basis, I'd like to emphasize that the perception of the market has changed to a greater degree than the most recent statistics are showing, because the statistics lag by up to a month.
While you may be inclined to wait until the market "bottoms out," keep in mind that at sellers are also thinking, "I may as well wait until the market improves before listing my home." This ultimately leads to lower inventories, which means less choice for buyers and a firming of prices - causing the pendulum to swing.
Currently, there is still a lot on the market and prices are more negotiable than at any time in the past year. Now is the time to watch listings closely and make offers that would have been futile only a few months ago.
A buyer's market is also the best time to sell if you are moving up in the market. Although you may take a discount on selling your current home, the market will allow you to get the same percentage discount on whatever you purchase, which equates to a greater absolute amount.
While moving up is ideal in a "buyer's market," you can't go too wrong by simply buying and selling in the same market, either.
For those of you who still prefer the numbers, here are some quotes from the May statistics out of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver:
•The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 3,156 in May 2010, a decline of 10.4 per cent compared to the 3,524 sales in May 2009; 5.1 per cent more than the 3,002 sales in May 2008; and 27.1 per cent less than the 4,331 sales in May 2007. May 2010 sales also represent a 10.1 per cent decline compared to last month's sales.
•The number of properties listed for sale in Greater Vancouver continued to rise in May, while the number of sales showed a year-over-year decrease.
•In terms of number of property listings, last month marked the third consecutive month during which more than 7,000 homes were listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver.
•At 17,492**, the total number of property listings on the MLS® increased 10 per cent in May compared to last month, and is up 28.2 per cent compared to this time last year.
**Note: a balanced market is 16,000 listings in Greater Vancouver, anything more is a buyer's market.