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BC home prices continued to march upward in July, driven by the province’s solid economic performance, population growth and dearth of housing supply.

Last month, the average price of a home in the province was $698,761, up 5.3 per cent from a year ago, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s (BCREA) July 2017 data release published today.

However, even though strong economic fundamentals have been driving BC’s real estate activity this summer, BCREA says sales have fallen four per cent since May and active listings are beginning to pick up steam.  

“We’ve bounced up from a 20-year low to hitting about the previous low from 10 years ago, so it’s a modest increase in active listings but certainly over the past few months the trend has been higher and that’s been a long time coming,” Cameron Muir, BCREA’s Chief Economist, tells BuzzBuzzNews.

Despite an uptick in available supply since spring, last month the province’s active listings dropped roughly four per cent year-over-year to 31,089 units.

Meantime, a total of 9,275 residential properties sold across the province — a 6.3 per cent drop from the same period last year.

If the rebound in housing supply is sustained and sales continue to edge back, Muir says the province may see more balanced market conditions before the year is over.

Last month, The Kootenays saw the biggest annual percentage gain in home sales across all BC boards, with a 28.6 per cent year-over-year increase to a total of 342 units compared to 266 in July 2016.

Muir attributes The Kootenays’ sales increase to heightened demand in the area.

“Some of that is a bit of catch up as they [the Kootenays] didn’t see the same kind of increases that the rest of the province, at least the southern half of the province, experienced last year and it certainly has created conditions in which prices are once again marching higher,” says Muir.

In July, Victoria displayed strong signs of a seller’s market with a sales-to-active-listing ratio of 53.2 per cent — the highest ratio of all boards.

Greater Vancouver continued to see homes price gains last month with a modest 2.2 per cent year-over-year hike to an average of $1,029,786.

Chilliwack topped the list for the biggest annual percentage gain in home prices with an average price tag of $474,222, an 18.6 per cent increase from July 2016.

Overall, markets in Chilliwack remain extremely tight, very little homes are available for sale which causes multiple offers. And that’s why you see these rapidly rising prices,” says Muir.

Year-to-date, provincial residential sales fell 17 per cent to 64,107 units in July compared to the same period in 2016. Meantime, the year-to-date average price of a home was $710,921, a 2.8 per cent drop from a year ago.

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