PHOTO BY RICHARD BUCHAN
The torrid pace of home sales across the Lower Mainland cooled substantially in July as sales in both the region’s main real estate boards fell, particularly for high-priced single-family houses, though markets remain in favour of sellers.
Across Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley boards, prices remain elevated at near record levels.
“Home sale activity showed some moderating signs in late June and this carried into July,” said Dan Morrison, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.
Sales tumbled 19 per cent in July across the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s territory, with 3,226 transactions recorded through the realtor-controlled Multiple Listing Service compared with 3,978 sales in July of 2015. That also represented a 27 per cent decline from June.
However, sales of detached homes dropped the most with 1,077 units changing hands in July, down 31 per cent from the same month a year ago and the second month in a row that sales of single-family homes have declined.
In the Fraser Valley, sales across the region were down 10 per cent compared with the same month a year ago to 1,962 transactions in July. However, that was a 32-per-cent decline from June.
“A slowing down in activity is expected during the summer,” said Charles Weibe, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board in a media release. “While it may seem drastic or alarming when compared to months prior, this easing off is welcome as we get further into the year,” which gives inventory a chance to catch up.
And once again, it was sales of detached homes that were down the most in the Fraser Valley with 828 properties changing hands in July representing a 30-per-cent drop from the same month a year ago and a 35-per-cent decline from June.
Measured by the sales-to-active-listings ratio, however, both Greater Vancouver, at 38 per cent and Fraser Valley, at 32 per cent, remain in so-called seller’s market territory. Economists typically estimate that a ratio over 25 per cent over a sustained period will put upward pressure on prices.
In the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s territory, the benchmark price for detached homes — an average of typical homes sold — hit $1.58 million in July, which is still running at 38 per cent above the same month a year ago and up just over one per cent from $1.56 million in June.
In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price for single family homes hit $881,400 in July, up 42 per cent from the same month a year ago, and up 2.3 per cent from $861,600 in June.
Morrison said that for Greater Vancouver, July was the first month since January that sales across the board’s region fell, which includes most of Metro Vancouver except Surrey, and stretches to Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast and along the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish and Whistler.
In the Fraser Valley, the drop meant that July was the first month in 2016 that sales did not break a previous record.