Vancouver Real Estate Stats Don’t Lie

Second Place

Stats don’t lie and the official Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) report says that residential property sales remained below long term averages. August sales were the second lowest total in the region since 1998 and 39.2 per cent below the 10-year August sales average of 2,711.

Red Flag

Even the President of REBGV is flying the red flag saying “for sellers it’s critical to work with your REALTOR® to understand today’s market and to develop the best strategy for selling your home.” Reading between the lines one assumes that strategy means one thing – if you are intent on selling then it is time get ahead of the train and reduce the asking price.

On The Other Hand

It is hard to develop a strategy when in a following sentence the Pres espouses his own claiming that “home sales this summer have been lower than we’ve seen for most of the past ten years, yet we continue to see relative stability when it comes to prices.” This leads sellers to question the validity of a strategy that says ‘drop your price’ when as we know that stats don’t lie and in that very real world it says there is no proof that they should.

The Highlights

What a difference a year makes – residential property sales of detached, attached and apartment properties reached 1,649 in August, a 30.7 per cent decline compared to the 2,378 sales in August 2011

August’s Numbers

  • New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,044 in August – a 13.7 per cent decline compared to August 2011.
  • The total number of residential property listings on the MLS® decreased to 4,685 properties down 15.8 per cent from the 4,802 new listings in July 2012.
  • 17,567, Total residential listings numbered 17,567 an increase of 13.8 per cent from this time last year.
  • it is a buyers market with sales-to-active-listings ratio sits at 9 per cent
  • The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is $609,500. This represents a decline of 0.5% compared to this time last year and a decline of 1.1% compared to last month.


  • Detached Sales in August 2012 reached 624, a decline of 38.8 per cent.
  • Detached Benchmark price increased 0.2 per cent from August 2011 to $942,100


  • Apartment sales reached 725 in August 2012, a decline of 24.1 per cent.
  • Apartment Benchmark price increased .9 per cent from August 2011 to $370,100.


  • Attached sales in August 2012 totalled 300, a decline of 25.6 per cent
  • Attached Benchmark price decreased 1.9 per cent from August 2011 to $462,300.

Full Report Here

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:

Stats Don't Lie Says:
September 5th, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Stats DO Lie, when you’re the REBGV… they erased last August’s numbers and put out new Aug 2011 data to make this August look less brutal.

This was noted on greaterfool, where “Canadian Watchdog” is credited with catching the revisionist data:

September 5th, 2012 at 9:01 pm


rhetoric until we see the facts.

vanpro Says:
September 5th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

2nd lowest sales for Aug. in 15 years and now MOI is around 11 overall and even higher for detached in many areas….The US crashed when MOI surpassed the 9 to10 level – caused the greatest worldwide financial crisis since the Great Depression: these numbers are nothing to sneeze at….

Van guy blazin kush Says:
September 6th, 2012 at 12:14 am

The rebgv does lie. They removed the average price for Van sfh in their monthly release. Larry knows what’s going on. 16xx sales last month is terrible. Prices are declining but there’s always a way to hide it. My friend is an assistant for a top 1% realtor and she said that their team agrees to a market decline. Anyone who doesn’t believe, just list your home and see that nobody will come to view the home unless it’s priced under assessment.

September 6th, 2012 at 12:27 am

@Van guy

I’m lost!
Are you are talking about the first page of the latest report? Is that where you expected to see it?

I can only speculate that since nobody believes that the average price is suitable for anything other than drama they chose to omit it (which is as you know not lying nor misrepresentation but rather selective dispensation of information) and instead delivered only what is believed to be the serious news contained in the HPI. 🙂

Adam Says:
September 6th, 2012 at 5:00 am

Larry… the REBGV changed the formula for how they calculate HPI, and went back and changed all the prices on their previous reports and lowered the HPI. If you don’t believe it, go back and look at your report from August 2011 and look at the benchmark prices and compare them to the ones on the website now.

No more credibility for REBGV.

Joe X Joe Says:
September 6th, 2012 at 6:55 am

I don´t know but this guy Eugene Klein from the Board is VERY optimistic. I don´t like his “advices” and I think that the average two month listing for your house before you sell it is too underestimated (especially in the case of detached houses and condo apartments).
He is talking like he has not seen the Residential Activity in the Second Quarter of 2012:

Number of Sales – 8,132
Year/Year (%) – -18.8 (from 10,018 )
Number of New Listings – 19,085
Average Price ($) – 724,319
Year/Year (%) – -11.5 (from 818,721 )
(taken from Vancouver Housing Market: Developments in 2012)

I really wish to know what is going on inside his head. We are entering a necessary and probably long housing price moderation, which is good for the future buyers but probably bad for E. Klein.

September 6th, 2012 at 8:48 am


Here’s a scrape explaining WHY they changed the math?

“Developed by five of the largest real estate boards in Canada (Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal) in partnership with the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the new MLS® HPI launched earlier this week.

The new MLS® HPI replaces our old MLS®Link HPI, and because there are some notable changes to the index in the Greater Vancouver market, new index data should not be compared with old index data.

Most notably, the new MLS® HPI is indexed to January 2005, where the old MLS®Link HPI was indexed to 2001. One of the key reasons for differences between the old and the new index is that benchmark home attributes used to define “typical” properties within specific areas have also been updated.

The main property types tracked by the new MLS® HPI will be detached, townhome, and apartment, as well as composite (a combined total of all three property types). There is also an expanded set of property categories and a Lower Mainland (combined Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley real estate board areas) category that can be used to track residential activity across all property types in specific areas within the region.

As for August ’11 report I don’t have a clue but it would be nice if we lived in an absolute and perfect world where all homes were identical to the last nail and screw.

September 6th, 2012 at 8:53 am


“I really wish to know what is going on inside his head.”

Phone him up and have coffee. Please ‘echo’ the results.

Van guy blazin kush Says:
September 6th, 2012 at 9:03 am


Most people look at that first page of the report for the price info for the previous month. They don’t go into the detailed pages for the info. C’mon Larry, you know the rebgv is hiding the collapse. It’ll happen anyways, but it’ll take more victims along the way because people think Muir is a good man. But in fact, he just sold his home,

September 6th, 2012 at 9:24 am

@Van guy

Death is in the details.

Not much of name... Says:
September 7th, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Larry – The question I would have would be what changes were made to the attributes of the “typical” property where the price of a “typical” property in Vancouver actually went down? With all the new builds and renos being done on homes these days, why would the HPI for Aug 2011 drop from $625K to $612k in the new calculations? This part of it doesn’t make sense to me.

September 10th, 2012 at 11:29 pm

@not much

Part of the change to ‘typical’ was to reflect that the HPI was no longer just a reflection of Vancouver and was targeted to be more national is scope.

As to the specifics of the August number – not sure what the answer to that is. Maybe the first number was wrong and was corrected. Stuff happens.

realtor Says:
September 11th, 2012 at 2:50 pm

I love how much you respond to questions and comments on here mate. Most blog owners don’t go through the trouble, it’s nice to see it here 🙂

Smoking Man Says:
September 11th, 2012 at 9:17 pm


Sincerely, I hope (and expect) that you survive the bust that is taking place in the market (I realize that it is early days yet), this will fell thousands of local realtors, mark my words.

Be well, keep up the good work.

Coffee talk, what’s the buzz?

September 11th, 2012 at 9:59 pm


kind words – thanks and appreciated

All that can be said is that I’ve lived through worse with less and I’m hear to talk about it. 🙂

The foam will come off tomorrow as I chat over Java with some senior and very experienced peeps. Should be fascinating.

vangrl Says:
September 12th, 2012 at 8:25 am

ooo la la, please fill us in on your java chat as asap!

September 12th, 2012 at 7:20 pm


hungry for gossip are we?? 🙂

Gor Gon Lin Says:
September 11th, 2013 at 1:37 pm

What are your thoughts about the boards including private sales in this Augusts numbers but not in the previous August 2012 numbers? Also, what are your thoughts about listing the same property multiple times under different MLS IDs and then counting 1 sale more than once?

I no longer trust the boards numbers based on these accusations and until there is some 3rd party oversight of the reporting I will not be buying their press releases as honest data.

The industry is about to have a serious credibility issue when this information hits the main stream.

September 11th, 2013 at 3:49 pm

@Gor Gor

I have no idea where you get your information from.

Maybe this will help –

The only listing on MLS is a MLS listing. As such it is the only type of information that is recorded within the MLS data bank.
The REBGV and to my knowledge every other real estate board, only records and stores that type of specific data.

The real estate board DOES NOT RECORD Private sales, exclusive listings, FSBO’S, gifts and any other permutation of a real estate transaction.

Perhaps your confusion is rooted in Land Titles. They record every real estate transaction associated with a property such as a change in ownership of the title. You will find that type of data via Land Corp but it will cost you.

In regard to – “listing the same property multiple times under different MLS IDs and then counting 1 sale more than once?”

Again you may be confused.
Each listing always receives a unique ID number.
You can list a property on MLS and subsequently have that listing mandate expire, terminate or be cancelled. Neither event triggers a SALE.
Should that same property be re-listed it will receive another unique ID number regardless of whether it has been re-listed by the same Realtor or a different one. Still there is no SALE.

The only time a sale is recorded is when a sales agreement without conditions is submitted and is followed by the a change in title ownership on that unique ID number. Should the transfer of title not occur it would be recorded as a collapsed transaction, not a sale.

Here’s an extreme example:
Let’s assume it takes 10 years to sell a property. Within those 10 years you could have that specific property re-listed by the same agent every six months or have a change in Realtor every six months. During that entire time that property has never SOLD. It will however, retain a full record of the ‘re-lists’.
Then at 10 years and one month it sells and there is a change of title. That would be the only sale recorded.

However, if during that 10 year period the property finds a new buyer every six months and title change occurs then it is possible to see MLS record 60 different listings with unique ID numbers and the accorded 60 sales recorded for each unique mls ID number.

Hope that helps re-establish your loss in stats credibility.

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