Below are updated sales, inventory and months of inventory graphs for Greater Vancouver to October 2011.
Oh yeah, and the detached benchmark price. Remember: prices lag, sales and inventory lead, so the price chart is put here for posterity, to remind us how significantly prices have changed over the past decade:
Commentary: October 2011, continuing from previous summer months, has produced more tepid sales numbers than years past. A continued trend of higher months of inventory (MOI, the number of months it would take to clear month-end inventory at current monthly sales levels), a key indicator of market liquidity and impending price strength, is typical in the second half. Lest we forget that prices are still high by most validated measures and it will take a prolonged period of MOI well above 6 to bring them down to more historic levels. We are currently at about 6.
Total inventory has likely peaked in October (it peaked mid-month, but not shown due to monthly sample rate); if the market were under significant distress we would expect increased inventory buildup through November, mostly due to lower sales. It looks unlikely to be the case this year, though new listings have been consistently about 20% higher in 2011 than 2010 with sales roughly flat. That indicates a greater percentage of listed properties will be unable to elicit a sale. If past years are a guide many owners will simply choose to rent instead of lower prices due in part to historically low carrying costs -- they don't "need" to sell (and instead take their chances in the "Mines of Landlord").
Below is the predictor of price gains, based on half-over-half price change to months of inventory correlation:
What this shows is the change in prices in a month from 6 months ago based on actual data and “predicting” the price based on months of inventory from that month based on linear regression of half-over-half price change to months of inventory (with 3 month moving average).
In summary October 2011 has mirrored October 2010 closely, with slightly more weakness due to higher inventory levels. I expect November to be a similar trend, with listings elevated and sales roughly flat compared to 2010.