Photo: David Meurin/Flickr
BC home sales and prices both saw year-over-year declines in October, the latest data from the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) shows. Sales dropped 16.7 per cent, with just 7,272 homes changing hands, while the average home price fell 9.1 per cent to come in at $606,787.
According to Cameron Muir, the BCREA’s chief economist, the fall in sales was the result of mixed housing demand across the province, while the drop in prices was largely caused by lower home sales in Metro Vancouver. “The decline in the average residential price reflects a smaller proportion of transactions in the province originating in Vancouver,” he explains in a November 15th press release.
Metro Vancouver home sales have indeed been trending downward lately. Large year-over-year declines have been recorded since July, and October was no different — the most recent numbers from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) indicate that last month home sales in the region fell 38.8 per cent year-over-year. Sales were also 15 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
There are a number of reasons home sales have been falling in Metro Vancouver, but the area’s new foreign-buyer tax is key. Put in place at the beginning of August, it has already significantly reduced the number of Metro Vancouver homes being purchased by foreign buyers.
Interestingly, while lower home sales in Metro Vancouver have resulted in a fall in home prices across BC, Metro Vancouver prices themselves are not falling. Quite the opposite in fact — REBGV data shows that in October the MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all homes in Metro Vancouver was $919,300. That’s down 0.8 per cent from the previous month, but up 24.8 per cent year-over-year.
In terms of what’s in store for the rest of the year, the BCREA has said that it sees BC home sales coming in at a record 113,000 units in 2016 despite lower sales in Metro Vancouver. As of the end of October, year-to-date sales were up 15 per cent year-over-year at 101,069 units.