Photo: Omer Wazir/Flickr

Metro Vancouver home sales just recorded the lowest first-quarter total since 2013. And, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) points the finger squarely at the introduction of stricter mortgage regulations this year and rising interest rates as the culprits behind the Q1 2018 drop.

A total of 6,542 homes changed hands in Metro Vancouver during the first three months of 2018, a 13 per cent drop from the 7,527 sales over the same period a year ago, according to the latest data from REBGV, published on Wednesday.

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“High prices, new tax announcements, rising interest rates, and stricter mortgage requirements are among the factors affecting home buyer and seller activity today,” says REBGV president Phil Moore, in a press release.

Along with declining sales, the region recorded its lowest first-quarter new listings total since 2013. There were 12,469 homes listed for sale during Q1 2018, a slight drop from the 12,568 listings over the same period last year.

Here are 11 more key facts that show Metro Vancouver’s housing slow down during the first quarter of 2018.

1. A total of 2,517 homes sold in Metro Vancouver in March, down nearly 30 per cent from the 3,579 sales recorded in March 2017.

2. Last month’s sales were also 23 per cent below the 10-year March sales average.

3. In March, there were 4,450 homes (detached, attached and condo) newly listed for sale in the region — a roughly 7 per cent decline compared to the 4,762 homes listed a year ago. “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,” says Moore.

4. Last month, the sales-to-active listings ratio for all property types was 30 per cent. Broken down by property type, the ratio was 14 per cent for detached homes, roughly 40 per cent for townhomes and nearly 62 per cent for condos. According to REBGV, downward pressure on prices typically happens when the ratio falls below the 12 per cent mark for a sustained period, while upward pressure occurs when prices surpass 20 per cent over several months.

5. As supply continues to be limited, REBGV’s Moore notes that upward pressure on prices will persist. In March, the benchmark price for all residential properties in the region was $1,084,000, a 16 per cent rise from March 2017.

6. In the detached segment, 722 properties sold last month, a 37 per cent decline from the 1,150 detached sales recorded a year ago.

7. The benchmark price of a detached home continued to rise in March to $1,608,500 — a 7.4 per cent increase from March 2017.

8. Metro Vancouver’s condo market also saw a drop in sales last month to 1,349 units, down roughly 27 per cent from 1,841 sales a year ago.

9. Condo prices soared to $693,500, a 26 per cent increase from the same time last year.

10. In the attached segment, a total of 446 properties sold in March — a 24 per cent drop compared to the 588 sales recorded a year ago.

11. Like the other property types, attached prices increased last month to $835,300, up nearly 18 per cent from March 2017.

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