Photo: Mike Linksvayer/Flickr

Faced with fierce competition and low supply, Metro Vancouver’s housing market continued to see sales decline following record-breaking activity last year, according to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).  

Last month, home sales in the region totaled 3,579, a 30.8 per cent decrease from the 5,173 sales recorded in March 2016 and a 47.6 per cent increase compared to the 2,425 homes sold in February 2017.

Although sales have decreased since last year, March sales were 7.9 per cent above the 10-year average for the month.

Meanwhile, the MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all Metro Vancouver residential units was $919,300 in March, a decline of 0.8 per cent over the past six months and a 1.4 per cent uptick over last month.

The benchmark price of the closely tracked detached home property type in March was $1,489,400, a 5.0 per cent decline since September 2016 and a one per cent increase compared to February.

“While demand in March was below the record high of last year, we saw demand increase month-to-month for condos and townhomes,” says REBGV President Jill Oudil. “Sellers still seem reluctant to put their homes on the market, making for stiff competition among home buyers,” she continues.

According to REBGV, Metro Vancouver saw the lowest number of new residential listings in March since 2009.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties totaled 4,762, a 24.1 per cent decrease compared to the 6,278 listings in March 2016. Listings did rise in March compared to the previous month, increasing 29.9 per cent over February’s total of 3,666.

“Home prices will likely continue to increase until we see more housing supply coming on to the market,” says Oudil.

Currently in the region, the total number of properties listed for sale on the MLS system is 7,586, a 3.1 per cent increase compared to the 7,358 properties listed in March 2016 and a 0.1 per cent decrease since February, when 7,594 units were listed.

Metro Vancouver’s sales-to-active listings ratio last month was 47.2 per cent, a 15-point increase over the previous month.

Downward pressure on home prices generally occurs when the ratio falls below the 12 per cent mark for a prolonged period of time and upward pressure often happens when the ratio surpasses 20 per cent over an extended time, says REBGV.

In March, 1,150 detached properties sold, a 46.1 per cent drop from the 2,135 detached sales recorded in March 2016.

Apartment property sales totaled 1,841 last month, a 18.3 per cent decrease compared to the 2,252 sales in March last year. An apartment property’s benchmark price was $537,400, up 5.2 per cent since September 2016 and a 2.1 per cent increase over the previous month.

Meanwhile, attached property sales totaled 588 in March, a 25.2 per cent drop compared to the 786 sales in March 2016. The benchmark price of an attached unit was $685,100, up 1.3 per cent over the past six months and an increase of 1.4 per cent compared to February 2017.

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