The Victoria Real Estate Board released their MLS stats for November a few days ago and I meant to comment on them for a few days, but other things intervened.
The stats for November do not show the market getting worse, but at the same there is little to show that it will be getting much better anytime soon. People spent a lot of time looking at the average sale price and it is close to the peak of $650,000 for single family houses, but little attention is being paid to the median value. The November value of $530,000 is close to 50% below the median in the first six months of the year. The gap of $120,000 between the median and the average means that the sales of houses at the top end of the market are skewing the market numbers.
What this says to me is that the pattern I have been observing of the lower end of the market is that prices are falling. Anecdotally, the prices in my neighbourhood are down to lower than the prices were at the start of 2007. The gap between the average and median can not remain so large over any length of time. Something on the order of 10% is a reasonable long term difference between the average price and the median price. The current median indicates that the average is likely $50,000 to $60,000 too high.
Meanwhile, other than a few months at the end of 2008 and start of 2009, the median value of condos has remained close to $300,000 for more than three years now. But even here there has been some fluctuation in the last few months to lower values.
When it comes to sales volume, November was not good but not abysmal. The fact that it was up from October is not the normal pattern, but sales were in single family homes month on month were up and were higher than in September or August. Sales numbers in the last few months would have indicated November could have been horrible.
Units on the market has been falling and could indicate that finally there will be an inventory stock that is below 3500 units in 2011, though unless the inventory falls below 3000 we are unlikely to see a rising market.