Vancouver’s Real Estate Stats Don’t Lie

Demand Eases

According the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Greater Vancouver home sellers were more active than buyers in January and overall home prices, according to the new MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI), continued to experience more stability and less fluctuation compared to the beginning of 2011.


REBGV reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 1,577 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2012. This represents a 4.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,658 sales recorded in December 2011, a decrease of 13.3 per cent compared to the 1,819 sales in January 2011 and an 18 per cent decline from the 1,923 home sales in January 2010.

  • a 4.9 per cent decrease compared to the 1,658 sales recorded in December 2011
  • a decrease of 13.3 per cent compared to the 1,819 sales in January 2011
  • an 18 per cent decline from the 1,923 home sales in January 2010.
  • January sales in Greater Vancouver were the second lowest January total in the region since 2002
  • New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,756 in January
  • a 19.9 per cent increase compared to the 4,801 new listings reported in January 2011
  • a 253.3 per cent increase compared to the 1,629 new listings reported in December 2011
  • Last month’s new listing count was the highest January total in Greater Vancouver since 1995
  • The ‘new’ MLS® HPI benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver currently sits at $660,600, up 5.7 per cent compared to January 2011 and down 0.1 per cent compared to December 2011.
  • Detached sales in January 2012 reached 659, a decline of 16.9 per cent from the 793 detached sales recorded in January 2011
  • Detached Benchmark price increased increased 11.3 per cent from January 2011 to $1,034,70011.2
  • Apartment Sales reached 657 in January 2012, a decline of 7.9 per cent compared to the 713 sales in January 2011
  • Apartment benchmark price increased 2.4 per cent from January 2011 to $371,500
  • Attached sales in January 2012 totalled 261, a decline of 16.6 per cent compared to the 313 sales in January 2011
  • benchmark price of a townhome3 unit declined 0.5 per cent between January 2011 and 2012 to $468,000
  • More Spin: “It was a relatively balanced year for the real estate market in Greater Vancouver with listing totals slightly above historical norms and sale numbers slightly below.”

The Pres Says

“We’re seeing trends emerge in our market that favour buyers, such as increased selection and more stability in pricing compared to this time last year”

What Has Changed

Take a moment to peruse these two documents. Together they will help clarify the changes and the overall benefit to those who want more relevant, detailed up to date Vancouver market information.

  1. What’s Different Document
  2. Comparison Matrix Document

Complete Report Here *Data and quotes courtesy Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Image Credit

Editor’s notes: 1.) The new MLS® HPI will be indexed to equal 100 in January 2005. The previous MLSLink HPI was indexed to 2001. Sales prior to 2005 will not be considered in the MLS® HPI. 2.) The Lower Mainland includes the areas serviced by both the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, and is comprised of communities from Whistler to Abbotsford. 3.) Townhome properties are similar to attached properties, a category that was used in the previous MLSLink HPI, but do not included duplexes.

About the new Home Price Index

**MLS® Home Price Index Logo: Courtesy of it’s respective owners. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

About Larry Yatkowsky

Larry is a recognized real estate expert. A veteran professional, his experienced counsel leads Vancouverites in his west side community to place their trust in a man passionate about his work. Uncompromising ethics bring a balanced approach to realizing your real estate dreams.

When Life Moves You - contact Larry:

*Disclaimer: Statistics Courtesy REBGV. While believed to be accurate they are not guaranteed.
**Numbers provided may vary as they are dynamically posted by the REBGV.

Reader Comments:

fish10 Says:
February 6th, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I must admit Larry, I am confused. I understand that a new HPI model is being used, but we have ended up with two HPI charts released by the REBGV.

One went out with their news release and one is on their web-site. I suspect they are using the different models, however they are so far apart they could be for two different cities!

February 6th, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Not sure what you are looking at. Have you got the links?

The boys in the tower are pretty careful about this stuff but mistakes do happen.

fish10 Says:
February 6th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Well they changed it right after I posted on my blog.

They must have had the previous HPI comparison at this site :

Which was different from the chart they sent out with the press release

Now they are the same.

The first one showed Whistler and the Sunshine Coast down a few % over 5 years which correlates with what I have seen in these markets.

the new HPI charts shows the S/S coast up 1% and Whistler up a bizarre amount which i cannot even bring myself to reprint!

Maybe they are just playing with my mind.

February 6th, 2012 at 5:48 pm


I’m feeling bad that I didn’t put something up about the ‘cut over’ date. Sorry about that. The change you are speaking about is possibly a result of them dropping everything before 2005. As this is a combined effort of a number of boards I understand it was difficult to get everybody on the same page at the same time using the same system. Hopefully this will in a very short while be as good as anticipated.

Reggie Says:
February 6th, 2012 at 8:31 pm


Where is the next planeload of Chinese buyers?

Hopefully we will start to see an explosion of Sold signs and some normalcy returning to our local real estate. I don’t think prices can actually fall given that so many people want to move to Vancouver.

BubbleBoy Says:
February 6th, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Real estate is at big risk right now. It’s a big cover up to confuse people and lie about true market conditions. Sales have been fallen off a cliff while listings are up. We are in for a big disappointment

Peter Pan Says:
February 6th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Statistics don’t lie, but liars use statistics.

BubbleBoy Says:
February 7th, 2012 at 8:14 am

These stats are just total BS and does not show the true Market conditions. To brainwash stupid people in thinking that we are not heading for a correction. It’s very silly and if some get sucked in, the problem will get worse. It’s obvious the intention was to hide and bs to the citizens of our country. What a scam!

February 7th, 2012 at 10:32 am

@ bubble
@Peter Pan

Shovel your crap somewhere else

-Bubbles you are sounding like a Garth groupie!
-Peter Pan – little more thought please, if you have something better bring it on. In the interim, upgrade the drivel.
-Reggie – planes were grounded, reason overweight from all the cash – but you know that!

specialfx3000 Says:
February 7th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

” planes were grounded, reason overweight from all the cash ”

Grounded enroute to Vancouver so somewhere in the Pacific? Wow, Hawaii will get rediscovered and it might now be the best place on earth despite the fact that they do make more land 🙂

vanpro Says:
February 7th, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Larry, can you enlighten us on the change in the HPI index and the benchmark prices – does this mean that we can not compare the current benchmark prices to previous benchmark prices?

February 7th, 2012 at 2:26 pm

in general I would say no you can not compare for the following reasons but I am currently confirming and will let you know
– start date differs, new one starts at 2005
– variables differ, new housing parameters are included (segregated) whereas they were formally grouped together: example would be floor area that is now calculated separately as Floor Area Above Main and Floor Area Main. Previously this was grouped as Global Floor area.

There are many more changes that I believe will give everyone a much more precise result both generally, specifically more quickly.

A little spin from the Montreal Gazette:

There’s already a price index in Canada that does a good job of eliminating distortions caused by differences in home quality, the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, but this one takes two months to appear. The current one, for example, is for November of 2011.

The Teranet measure is based on repeat sales of the same home, so it theoretically eliminates distortions in the quality of what’s measured. But as Hogue points out, very few homes are sold twice within a short time, so this index is based on a very small sample. As well, he worries, the home’s quality may or may not be identical, depending on what improvements (or disasters) it goes through between sales.

Hogue says that while the Teranet methodology is good, he actually prefers that of the new CREA Home Price Index, or HPI. “I think it’s a superior measure,” he says.”And it’s quite impressive that there’s no lag in reporting.”

vanpro Says:
February 7th, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Thanks Larry. Please update us when you get more info from your inquiries. So I interpret this to mean that: (1) they changed the base year (to 2005) AND (2) also changed the composition of the “benchmark” home. Correct?

February 7th, 2012 at 5:54 pm


I have updated the post to reflect What’s Different and a Comparison Between the Old and New HPI.
Hope this helps.

vanpro Says:
February 7th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Thanks Larry! Those 2 documents you posted are very useful in explaining the differences. The 1st document clearly indicates that the “benchmark” home (attributes) has changed (so you can’t compare to old benchmark prices). But, this begs the question: how then did the REBGV calculate its % changes in the benchmark prices tabulated on the 3rd page of the recent January/12 report (% changes for 1 month, 3 month all the way out to 5 years)? Did they go back in time and re-do all benchmark prices using the new attributes of a “benchmark” home and then attribute a historical price to that home in each of the time periods in the table on page 3 of the report? Seems like that is not possible.

From the 1st document:

“ Updating the “benchmark” home attributes”

Here’s the quote from the 2nd document:

“‐Benchmark definitions
updated in 2011”

February 7th, 2012 at 10:10 pm

At this time it is my understanding that this is what they had to do in order to find a level playing field amongst all the boards involved. Remember it is not just Vancouver who is making the change.

Under the guise of a man has got to know his limitations – the how and why I admit to not knowing. It’s why I pay the big bucks to have guys who build this stuff for me and for you. I’ve looked at some of the formula’s and Index models they are using and got a head ache.

From my end I see that they are still rolling out a lot of information in the background and in some cases I’m discovering data sets (graphs) are not yet available at various drill down levels. Ultimately, I trust that the ‘tech’ people and the stats ghurus will be delivering a complete picture in due course and at that time I will be happy to share the results.

In time all of this will put everyone on the same page. Until then it can be quite frustrating.

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