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JENNIFER GAUTHIER/METRO

 

So far it’s been a tale of two real estate markets in Metro Vancouver, as detached homes slumped but condos and townhouses remained in high demand.

It’s the story the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver continues to tell following the B.C.’s government’s surprise 15% property transfer tax on foreign nationals and the federal government’s recent move to tighten mortgage requirements.

“We’re certainly seeing the strata properties doing very, very well in most areas, however there’s no question that the detached market is taking a bit of a hit,” said Dan Morrison, chair of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

But on the ground, things look a little different, said Steve Saretsky, a real estate agent who specializes in downtown and Westside condos in Vancouver.

“It’s still the case that they’re very different markets but the gap is narrowing,” Saretsky said.

Statistics published by REBGV show that prices have fallen for most property types in many neighbourhoods between September and October. MLS statistics show the benchmark price for a condo on Vancouver’s Westside fell 2.5 per cent between July and October. But, “from what I see it’s down five per cent,” Saretsky said, basing the statement on his own regular tracking of property selling prices.

Between 2015 and 2016, home prices in Metro Vancouver increased at nosebleed levels, in some areas rising 40 per cent over the course of a year. While the price increase began in the detached home market, it also affected the condo and townhome market as well as the outer suburbs.

Saretsky believes that effect will now continuing in reverse, with detached homes being the first to slow while condos, and then surburban properties, likely following.

Morrison sells real estate in West Vancouver, where listings dropped 72 per cent between August and October 2016, compared to the same period in 2015. Sellers who are able to wait are sitting on the sidelines right now, waiting to see what the traditionally busy spring period will bring, he said.

That’s what concerns Saretsky. Both buyers and sellers are currently sitting the market out, but if sellers flood the market in the spring with a lot of inventory, “that’s what could potentially topple the market.” He added that the currently low inventory is the only thing keeping prices from falling more dramatically.

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