The other day, my girlfriend sent me a link to an article about housing in Vancouver, and her text said "wow". The article was from a popular news source locally and the title read "Vancouver home sales saw 40% increase for November". Let me preface by saying my Girlfriend is a university educated, smart woman with a good attention to detail. When I clicked on the article I can see where the mistake was. Its the same mistake that I hear probably once a month (usually after the Real Estate Board releases their monthly stats) Now the market is indeed white hot, but when most people read this headline they are thinking "my 1 million dollar home is now worth 1.4 million dollars" (40%). Others are saying "I can't believe homes went up that much in November???. There are 2 problems here, and the news outlets do this either knowingly, or unknowingly, if I were a betting man, I would say knowingly.
1) The value of homes did not increase 40%, the amount of transactions increased 40%. The 1 million dollar house is not worth 1.4 million dollars, rather instead of 5,000 home sales in a month, there were 7,000 sales.
2) The headline says "increase for November" , but what they really mean is year over year, November 2014 to November 2015. That's a years worth of increase, not a months worth as the headline suggests. They failed to mention that from October to November there was actually a decrease of 3.3%.
It would be nice to see news reports use accurate, easy to understand stats, but those don't get clicks/views. Something that never gets talked about is absorption which is the main statistic in determining if we are in a Buyers/Sellers/Balanced market. The amount of homes listed per month vs the amount of homes sold.
Stats are easy to skew, and don't get me wrong we saw HUGE gains in value this year. 18% increase in value in Greater Vancouver is amazing, but its less than half of what some articles will have you believe. Its also important to get localized info. For example when someone says "Maple Ridge is really booming...." They fail to mention, yes, detached homes in maple ridge have increased 11% in value in 1 year, but apartments have actually decreased in value 1.4%. (yes it is possible for real estate to not always increase)
Point of my story is, talk to your local Realtor to find out exactly what is going on in your area, for your specific home type.