March home sales slow in Metro Vancouver but prices stay high: real estate board
VANCOUVER — Metro Vancouver home sales over the first quarter of this year were the lowest in five years, but statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show prices remain high.
The board says home sales across the region in March tumbled 29.7 per cent compared with March 2017 and are 23 per cent below the 10-year March sales average.
Just over 2,500 homes changed hands last month, a drop of more than 1,000 compared with a year ago, although the board notes the March 2018 sales climbed 14 per cent compared with February.
Listings of detached, attached and apartment properties also fell year-over-year, skidding 6.6 per cent in March compared with March 2017, marking the region’s lowest total of first-quarter new listings since 2013.
Real estate board data shows the number of sales compared to the number of active listings soared to 61.6 per cent for condominiums in March, while the rate was 39.9 per cent for townhomes, far above the 20 per cent rate the board says tends to push prices upward.
The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is $1,084,000, a 16.1 per cent increase over March 2017 and a 1.1 per cent increase since February of this year.
Phil Moore, real estate board president, says even with lower sales, prices will remain high as long as the selection of properties is slim.
“Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009 and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and townhome segments, of homes for sale remains well below historical norms,” he says in a news release.
“High prices, new tax announcements, rising interest rates, and stricter mortgage requirements are among the factors affecting home buyer and seller activity today,” Moore adds.
The benchmark price for detached properties was $1,608,500 last month, up 7.4 per cent from March 2017 and up less than half a per cent over February 2018, as sales-to-active listings nudged the mark where to board says downward pressure on prices could occur.
But with sales outstripping supply for condos and townhomes, the real estate board says the benchmark price for a condo was $693,500 in March, a 26.2 per cent leap from March 2017 and a 1.6 per cent bump compared with February 2018.
Benchmark prices for townhomes across Metro Vancouver reached $835,300 last month, a two per cent increase over February and a hike of 17.7 per cent from March 2017.