Friday, July 12, 2019

Urban condos see a spike in listings, will the sales follow?

I published this article on Urban Living in the 'Couv' Monday. Urban condos are a big part of my real estate marketing efforts and as such I take a special notice to market 'wind shifts'. I figured I be well to inform the readers here of what's happening Downtown.

Originally published in Urban Living in the 'Couv', July 8th, 2019, by Rod Sager 

There is no shortage of units in Vancouver's urban condo market. New ones come active each week but nearly as many go pending or close as well. This is good activity. The days on market is dragging just a bit, but it seems sellers are starting out high on price and coming back to the market over a few months. Sellers pricing the units well from the start are seeing a quick sale.

You can see a spike in listings for June that outpaced the spike in closings. I'll be watching to see if the local market can absorb these new units in a reasonable time period. I think the listing spike likely came after sellers on the fence saw good activity in the spring and decided now is the time to sell. Summertime in Downtown is a lot more exciting than winter as the festivals, concerts and other fun stuff like the Farmer's Market is a big draw. The figures above are for condos in Downtown only so this does not include areas like Columbia Shores, Tidewater, or Shorewood.

The $500,000 to $750,000 price range is the only range that seems under-represented in terms of available inventory. Recent units in Viewpoint and Frontier in that range sold relatively fast and new inventory has not filled the void. Above $750,000 has ample inventory as does the entry level units like those found at the Academy Square and Parkview projects.

The waterfront project continues to build new developments, but the only condo project actually under construction is Kirkland Tower and those will be very high-end units mostly well above $1 million. Another proposed condo building is slated for Block 16, that is also right along the water so I am presuming those will be upper end units as well. That building however is proposed to have double the number of units as Kirkland so they may be priced in a lower range, yet likely still in the $750,000 plus market. That is just my best guess there is no real published data on the Block 16 project. The other residential projects going in are all apartments thus far.

The lack of actual condos on the waterfront could certainly be helping the condo market downtown as the area continues to see economic expansion and significant improvements to enhance the living experience. The success of the various apartment buildings such as Rediviva and Riverwest, both complete and available now, could spark developers to roll the dice on condo projects along the new waterfront. These two apartment projects feature units with rents from $1,800 to $4,000 per month and there are a total of 280 units. Income required to support $3,000-$4,000 in rent is good enough to support a condo well above $500,000.

I believe the condo projects proposed and planned for the waterfront are taking a wait and see stance to monitor the success at Rediviva and Riverwest before committing to expensive condo projects.
The City of Vancouver and Gramor need to focus on bringing some high paying employers into the downtown, waterfront, and Port of Vancouver to help support more residential development, while the economy is still strong. Jobs are very important and there are plenty of companies looking to expand in and/or into our region. The waterfront project will be easy to fill with people should we add another 5,000 good paying jobs close in. Nobody save for the occasional traffic masochist, likes crossing the bridges to work.

Things are solid on the Vancouver Urban Living scene.

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