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January real estate numbers lowest in a decade for Langley

Rising interest rates pinned as factor in housing market slow down, realtors predicting turn around
(Fraser Valley Real Estate Board)

The downward trend in Fraser Valley real estate sales continued in January as further interest rate hikes kept buyers sidelined.

With 626 transactions processed on the MLS, sales were off by 12.6 per cent compared to last month and down by 52.2 per cent compared to this time last year.

The last time January sales were this low was in 2013 at 617 sales, said Sandra Benz, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

“Buyers are understandably cautious, which explains the slow start to the year,” Benz commented.

Local realtor Kim Phillips said that there are plenty of people who want to buy a new home, either upsizing or downsizing, but they’re hesitant, because there’s jus tnot that much on the market.

“There’s interest, people want to make a move,” she said.

The price drop, especially for single family homes, is also offsetting the rise in interest rates. For those heading east to Abbotsford, single family homes can again be had for $1 million or less, said Phillips.

But with a lack of homes available, some people are reluctant to put their own homes up for sale, as they aren’t sure what they can buy to move into.

On the plus size, Phillips said that there is now time for buyers to get house inspections done and take their time on a purchase. During the frantic market of late 2020 and all of 2021, there were bidding wars and many people bought homes sight-unseen.

Phillips expected the market will pick up in the spring as more people finally list their homes for sale.

Although new listings saw an increase of 128.3 per cent over last month to 1,833, they are at the lowest level of new supply for January since 1984. Active listings rose slightly up five per cent to 4,118 over December 2022 and up by 76.6 per cent compared to this time last year.

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“We also expect inventory to start increasing over the coming months as sellers act on decisions that have been on hold, waiting for rates to peak,” said Benz.

“As we start to see greater selection across all property categories, we should see demand pick up.”

At $942,200, the composite Benchmark home price continued to edge downward, slipping by 1.4 per cent from December and off by 15.1 per cent compared to January 2022.

“After a market slowdown for the past several months, the board is expecting a return to seasonal activity leading into spring,” said FVREB CEO Baldev Gill. The association represents close to 5,000 real estate agents covering Abbotsford, Langley, Mission, North Delta, Surrey, and White Rock.

“With rates still elevated, however, buyers and sellers would be well-advised to seek out the guidance of a professional realtor to determine the best strategy and timing to take advantage of the anticipated market upswing,” said Gill.

Across the Fraser Valley in January, the average number of days to sell a single-family detached home was 48, and a townhome was 40 days. Apartments took, on average, 41 days to sell.

LAST MONTH: Home sales hit new low as Langley prices keep dropping

How did Langley fare in the past month? Benz revealed board statistics that show jump in active listings in the community during January, but a drop in sales and new listings, as well as the benchmark, median, and average prices of all types of homes over January 2022 figures.

Sales of detached homes in Langley dropped from 63 in the first month of last year to 45 this January. But comparing it to December (41), the number of sales of single-family homes climbed by 9.8 per cent with the average price dropping 23 per cent, from $1.79 million in January 2022, to $1.38 million last month.

On the townhouse front in Langley, the number of sales dropped 32.7 per cent, from 49 in the first month of 2022, compared to only 33 in January. The sales last month compared to December (38) were also down 13.2 per cent. In townhouse average prices there’s also a noticeable difference: January 2022 was at $939,678, December 2022 was $754,078, and this past month the prices rose again (5.8 per cent) to $797,497.

And as for Langley condos, there was a dramatic drop in the number of sales – in fact, the number was cut in half. During the first month of 2022, there were 96 units sold. Last month, there were 48, a drop of 50 per cent. And December wasn’t a lot better, with 58 units sold – but still it was stronger than last month, where the average price for apartments was $532,166. That was only slightly below the average price in December, which registered at $532,654, but down 14 per cent compared to January of 2022, when it was $617,811.

Looking at benchmark price comparisons in Langley, the board scanned back over a period of 10 years. For a mix of residential homes (detached, townhouses, and apartments), the benchmark was $958,400 last month, that’s still a 33-per-cent increase compared to three years ago, a 21-per-cent increase compared to local prices five years ago, and a 124-per-cent increase compared to the price 10 years ago.


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