Sales in Metro Vancouver’s real estate markets have slowed, but realtors are still gearing up for the Lunar New Year period when, in recent years, the region has seen a bump in transactions associated with an influx of visitors for the holiday.
“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen this year, but I expect we will see a bump in sales activity during the month of February,” said Cameron McNeil, president of project-marketing firm MAC Marketing Solutions.
However, McNeil said Asian buyers have been more active in the Metro Vancouver market in recent weeks than they were through the middle of 2012.
By the end of 2012, property resales had declined 23 per cent to 25,032 transactions within the region of Metro Vancouver covered by the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board, and realtors were describing the market as a standoff between buyers and sellers.
McNeil said his salespeople are seeing an increase in activity, including from Chinese buyers.
“To me, (Chinese buyers) are a leading indicator,” McNeil said. “What I mean is, when Chinese buyers are active, it is a little bit of a bellwether (for the overall market), and the Chinese are active.”
Buyers are taking their time, McNeil said, but for developments in good locations with “fair values, prices aren’t coming off and are selling very well.”
He added that locations with established neighbourhoods, good schools and proximity to rapid transit are popular.
As one comment at VCI noted (hat tip Bo Xilai):
Yeah, I can see wealthy Mainland Chinese buyers consider proximity to rapid transit as being SUPER important to their buying decision.
Why take the Bentley when you can ride the Canada Line?
Maybe Mr. MacNeil is trying to get his real audience – brokeass first time home buyers – off the fence.
Comically - after the big pump - the stage is set to soften the inevitable disappointment.
On the Chinese zodiac, 2013 is the year of the snake, but McNeil said that factors little in anyone’s buying plans.
Lunar New Year is one of the times of the year when the Chinese visitors who are drawn to Vancouver tend to come, which is something the real estate industry noticed and catered to with receptions and sales events. The result, McNeil said, has been “quite a few transactions out of that time period.”
Albert Leong, managing broker for the Macdonald Realty Westmar office in Richmond, added that China shuts down for Lunar New Year, which gives executives and business owners time to take a break from their companies and travel.
“At the same time, they come here with some money,” Leong said, and those inclined to spend some time in Vancouver might buy property.
However, Leong is also sensitive to China’s internal economics, which haven’t been as strong as in previous years as the economies of its customers in Europe slow down and the United States struggles to bounce back.
And his impression is that there are fewer Chinese coming to Metro Vancouver.
“I think they are in recession just because their customers, the U.S. and Europe, are doing less business (with China),” Leong said. “I think for the government, the incentive is there to keep everyone home and keep their own economy (growing).”
Four sales days after the first of the month and we already have a net inventory increase of almost 600 new listings (an average increase of 149 per day). If net daily listings were to increase at this rate, February would close with an astounding increase in inventory of (+2,832), a total which would eclipse any increase seen in 2012.
Those planeloads of vacationing Chinese nationals better start buying quick.
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