Is There A Seasonal Pattern To The Vancouver Real Estate Market?
Many phenomena are reported to have seasonal variation. From tidal currents to consumer spending, seasonality is a well-documented phenomenon.
In the context of Vancouver’s real estate market the question “is there a best time to buy?” is often raised. While timing the real estate market with laser precision is virtually impossible–due in large part to the sheer volume of factors underpinning market growth and consumer behaviour—there are still certain seasonal trends that can be surmised:
WINTER. It’s no surprise that days are short and the weather is typically bad in Vancouver during the winter months. This is a time when many folks prefer to hibernate or temporarily relocate to warmer climates on holiday. As such, both prospective home buyers and sellers tend to shy away from the market from the months of November to February. In particular, the second half of December is a time of year where very, very few buyers actively search for homes. It’s reasonable to conclude that if a seller has their home listed for sale over the winter holidays, they are likely reasonably motivated to sell!
SPRING. From a historical standpoint, springtime is by far the most active time of the year for Vancouver real estate sales across houses, condominiums and townhomes. With the increase in daylight hours to view homes, purchasers have more hours at their disposal to sleuth for a new home. By March many of us have settled up our credit cards from winter travel and holiday spending, putting us in a more stable financial position to go out and entertain making a major purchase.
SUMMER. While traditionally the summer holidays have been regarded as a time of slow-down in activity within our local real estate market, this appears to no longer be the case. Since the turn of the millennium, sales activity in the summer months has more often than not mirrored activity levels set in the spring. On average over the last 15 years, sales activity within the summer months has been 35% more than in the decade that preceded that. While summer real estate market activity is Vancouver has grown in strength in recent years, it still pales in comparison to the spring and fall months.
This figure shows the number of home sales in July since 1990. You can see here that the volume of home sales in July is generally higher this decade than we saw during the 1990’s.
FALL. Even today, the fall is still second only to spring in terms of consumer activity. While price appreciation is less common towards the end of the calendar year, that doesn’t seem to stop prospective home purchasers from hitting the pavement. With the return of children to school and adults to a routine schedule, many view it as a perfect time to begin searching for a new home and setting down roots for the new year.
While there are definitely seasonal patterns to how the Vancouver real estate market operates, no two years are ever identical and there are always a variety of forces at play underpinning these broader trends. Every home purchaser and seller has their own unique objectives and timelines, so it’s crucially important to these factors into account when determining to what extent seasonality should play a role in shaping your purchase or sales strategy. A qualified Realtor with a solid understanding of the market fundamental and micro and macro factors influencing market trends should be able to advise you accordingly.
If you have questions about the market or would like to discuss anything mentioned in this article, feel free to send me an email or drop me a line—I’d love to chat. I’m a Vancouver Realtor who is an expert in residential real estate and sell extensively condominiums, townhomes and detached homes.