We have been hearing and reading in the news that the real estate market is busy, and it certainly is. Here are some of the highlights from the first six months of the year as well as some comparisons to the same time last year, which was also an active time.
So far throughout the first half of 2015, MLS is reporting 393 unit sales (January 1 – June 30). For the same period in 2014 there were a total of 253 reported sales. This means that we have experienced a 35% increase in the total number of real estate sales in Squamish over the same period last year.
As we break the numbers down by market segment we see that apartments have experienced the largest increase year-over-year in terms of the number of transactions. Both homeowners (primarily first time buyers) and some investors are moving into this area of the market resulting in a 55% increase in sales and a modest average price increase of 7.7%. For most first time buyers prices are the main draw and investors are looking to capitalize on the lack of available rental supply throughout Squamish.
Although townhomes experienced the second largest gains in number of sales, this segment of the market saw the largest gains in average prices. The benchmark price for a townhome has risen by 29.3% and sales volume increased by 46%. There are many factors that account for these 2 substantial increases. Townhomes make a great purchase for young, active families while investors and purchasers looking to downsizing from their single family homes look to take advantage of easy of ownership with less yard and household maintenance to worry about.
Finally, the single-family home segment of the market has also changed significantly when compared to this time last year. The benchmark price year-over-year is up 9.5% and the number of units sold has risen by 25%. So far in 2015 there have been 180 single-family home sales and this portion of the market remains the largest segment of the Squamish real estate market.
All this said, there are 2 statistics that indicate that we could be in for a cooling in the market for single-family homes and apartments. For the first time this year, the sales-to-listings ratio (the number of homes listed as compared to the number of homes sold) has dropped below 50% while inventory remains steady. Apartments have seen an even larger drop where the sales-to-listing ratio is down 38.3% from 79% at the end of May. These numbers are based on a single month of data so we will need to watch these numbers carefully to see if any trends develop over time before we can draw any concrete conclusions. As the summer months continue to unfold we will be able to see if the overall market is shifting or if buyers were just taking a break from the frenzied market.