Tuesday, May 15, 2007

North American Median Home Prices

Check it out. Hot off the press. The National Association of Realtors released home sales data for the first quarter of 2007 and the numbers are not positive. Check out the article here.

I put the median detached price data for the top 15 markets in North America into this chart and adjusted to US dollars. Greater Vancouver is the third most expensive area in North America to buy a detached home according to median price data. The Fraser Valley is lucky number 13.

Fun times, fun times. I wonder if we will make it to number one so we can be truly world class.

As an aside, since our incomes are lower than average here and mortgage interest is not tax deductible in Canada, I would suggest that we are the most expensive real estate in North America.


WoodenHorse said...

I'm pretty confident that we'll hit number one. California is too far ahead into the decline phase of this bubble and we're still climbing.

I personally know 4 couples/people who've bought in the last two months here. I don't really say anything. I don't want those fools to have money in their pockets when I'm looking to buy

WoodenHorse said...

sorry to double post:

Of all of those places I have a hard time seeing the median price being as many times median income as it is here in Vancouver so maybe we truly are different.

M- said...

Well, I'm confident that we'll hit #2. #1 is still a long ways off, and the Americans are still deluding themselves about the extent of subprime and Alt-A mortgage lending problems.

jesse said...

"...the Americans are still deluding themselves about the extent of subprime and Alt-A mortgage lending problems."

After reading Calculated Risk it sounds like there are problems in prime as well due to common misconceptions about what "prime" versus "sub-prime" actually means.

Two-armed said...

Since we're ranking things, here are a few interesting facts from the 2006 BC Progress Board Report, sort of a Harper's List of numbers. These rankings reflect the relative position of BC in 2005 compared to 61 other North American jurisdictions (50 States, 10 Provinces, and the District of Columbia).

1) Real per capita personal disposable income: 54th out of 61 (just slightly behind Mississippi).

2)Real per capita GDP: 45th out of 61 (just slightly behind Missouri).

3) Total (personal and property) crime rate: 60th out of 61 (that's on the bad side of the curve, having a lower crime rate than only one other jurisdiction in North America: the District of Columbia).

Needless to say, a top three finish in any of those rankings would really be worth something.

freako said...

Hmm, I got 633,378.88 USD for Vancouver, using the GV benchmark median. Is the median really that much higher?

And as I mentioned in the other thread, I think it can be argued that #1 and #2 are really one area, as many people live in one and work in the other.

As I also mentioned in the other thread the top three actually increased over the past quarter. Very likely because the low end got selectively hit hard because of the subprime situation. If NAR posted benchmarks, we would likely see declines. An acceptable proxy for benchmarked are size adjusted medians. They are for the most part down, hence proof that prices are NOT up apples for apples.

Now who is #1 in terms poor affordability. It just has to be Vancouver by a good margin. But then how could the local talking heads make a big deal out of the fact that we don't have exotic mortgages here. It is not possible to have THE worst affordability, without some shifty financing.

freako said...

"...the Americans are still deluding themselves about the extent of subprime and Alt-A mortgage lending problems."

As are we when we decide that we only have quality mortgages. It is not possible to have our levels of affordability without having similar problems. Hiding behind terminology will be little consolation once the sh*t hits the fan. We have it by any other name.

M- said...

Freako: if #1 and #2 were to be combined, then we'd surely have to combine #3 and #13, as an awful lot of people live in FV and commute to GV.

freako said...

"Freako: if #1 and #2 were to be combined, then we'd surely have to combine #3 and #13, as an awful lot of people live in FV and commute to GV"

Yes, I would. These are census metro areas. We will never have exact apples to apples. Vancouver CMA pretty well includes all of GV and FV.

Dave said...

As noted some time ago on VHB, Vancouver prices were higher than Califoria prices (regional, at least) back in '81, and double Seattle prices.

Much has been made of how this time it's different, and there isn't the same speculative frenzy as in the early 80s. Yeah, buddy.

mohican said...

freako - yes the median is that high - crazy, i know

I agree that it would be fair to combine some of these areas but no such data source exists to properly combine the numbers - a simple average would not be fair. It would be fair to say that a combined GV / FV number would probably fall somewhere in the middle of the list posted.

Joel said...

It's always fun to revisit some blasts from the past, again after a couple of appearances on VHB, I'll quote some favorites:

The Province
October 5, 1980

Even if the demand for houses falls in the outer suburbs, the market will probably never experience a downturn within the city proper. The real estate industry believes it is a captive market. There is virtually no building space left and if the desire to live closer to the city continues, values will keep soaring."

Of course there are also these 'bijoux' from March 4, 1981, a few weeks before the crash started:

Residential construction is booming in Vancouver, but there is no appreciable dent in the housing shortage

Both agreed there is not a hope of prices falling and there is a terrific underlying strength to the market.

The house prices have reached a temporary peak, simply because of the limitation of the purchasing power ...

Clarke said...

I also know of several people that have just bought recently, as "prices just keep going up, so the sooner you buy the better."

Hmm. Highest real estate prices and real disposable incomes are 54th out of 61. Unless these rich foreigners keep coming here to buy all our Real Estate, this will end really badly. I am surprised how long this is taking.

Daniel said...

The rich foreigners do seem to keep coming. My mother recently sold her house on the Westside... buyers were from Hong Kong. All offers were from Asians. Maybe the large lot had something to do with it. I've seen COSCO shipping containers outside recently purchased new homes in the Westside neighbourhood where we rent. Yes, foreign money is still coming in. The bright side for bears though, at least I hope, is that foreign money can just as easily flow out if global circumstances change.

Another factor propping up prices I think is that many baby boomer parents are helping their kids out. I've been to many open houses, again on the Westside, where the potential buyers are a young family with well-heeled-looking grandpa or grandma.

I know there's nothing novel about what I've said but just my two cents.

We're a young family, recent university grads, good income but low net worth, no help from parents (they don't believe in transferring wealth while they're alive) and lookin' at continuing to rent for the next several years. Definitely sucks to be a FTB now.