Although softer housing values and greater selection have bolstered sales of detached homes over $3 million in the luxury segment of the Metro Vancouver market in the first two months of the year, strata condominium sales have taken the lead in terms of percentage increases, with sales volumes up 68 per cent year-over-year.

Twenty-seven strata condo sales averaging $4 million were recorded between January 1 and February 29 of this year. In contrast, there were 16 sales during the same period in 2023, with an average price of $4.5 million. Just over half of 2024’s strata sales (14) occurred in Vancouver’s Westside, compared to 11 sales in 2023. Luxury condo buyers at the top end of the market have adjusted expectations, allowing them to sidestep higher interest rates by choosing smaller apartments rather than larger units in the city’s most coveted strata buildings.

While 2024 appears to be the year of the condominium, year-to-date sales of luxury detached properties in Metro Vancouver have climbed as well, rising almost three per cent in the first of two months of the year. One hundred and fifty-five detached homes changed hands over the $3 million price point so far this year, compared to 151 properties sold during the same period in 2023. Nearly half of those sales (74) occurred in the Westside, where the lion’s share of high-end activity occurs in communities, including Point Grey, Dunbar, Kerrisdale, Kitsilano, Kerrisdale and S.W. Marine Dr.

Demand for detached housing at uber-luxe levels has fallen this year in large part due to today’s high interest rate environment coupled with the Foreign Buyers Ban (implemented by the Canadian government in 2023 and extended until early in 2027). For every quarter point uptick in interest rates, a $50,000 increase in income is required. Those factors, combined with local municipal taxes, including a vacant home tax at two per cent of the total value of the property, and a hefty land transfer tax, have proven insurmountable. Just nine detached homes were sold over $6 million in the first two months of this year in Metro Vancouver, compared to 20 during the same period in 2023.

Evidence of the shift in the detached uber-luxe market appeared in the second half of 2023 but has accelerated in the first few months of 2024. Fewer buyers and an increase in the number of high-end detached properties listed for sale in Metro Vancouver has resulted in some downward pressure on values, as evidenced from the sales stats. However, many sellers are holding firm, rather than entertaining lowball offers.

Local buyers are the driving force in Vancouver’s housing market, but momentum has yet to reach the upper price points for detached housing. Long-anticipated cuts to interest rates are expected to breathe new life into the city’s luxury segment as the ripple effect moves through the overall market in the latter half of the year. Demand for both condominiums and detached homes at the top end is expected to improve, especially with rate cuts on the horizon, moving through 2024.

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