Photo: Tim Gage/Flickr

Metro Vancouver home sales in 2018 plunged to the lowest level observed since the year 2000, as a slow December capped off a year of decline for the west-coast market.

A total of 24,619 homes changed hands on Metro Vancouver’s resale market last year, down 31.6 percent from 2017 and 25 percent off the 10-year average for the region, according to the Real Estate Board of Vancouver (REBGV).

In December alone, sales were down a jaw-dropping 46.8 percent, settling at 2,016 transactions by the end of the month.

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“This past year has been a transition period for the Metro Vancouver housing market away from the sellers’ market conditions we experienced in previous years,” says Phil Moore, president of REBGV, in a statement.

“High home prices, rising interest rates and new mortgage requirements and taxes all contributed to the market conditions we saw in 2018,” he continues.

By year’s end, the benchmark price of a Metro Vancouver home, including condos, was $1,032,400, representing a 2.7-percent decline from December 2017 values.

Prices trends varied by housing type. The benchmark price for detached homes was $1,479,000, dropping 7.8 percent from a year ago. Meantime, the condo benchmark price was $664,100, up 0.6 percent annually.

While the condo market has shown relative strength in the face of a broader cooldown, in a recent blog post local realtor Steve Saretsky notes how condo sales in December sunk to a 10-year low.

He also suggests there’s reason for a potential acceleration in the decline of condo prices, which, despite being slightly up annually in December, inched down from November.

“One catalyst for higher inventory in the new year will almost certainly come from the new construction space,” Saretsky writes.

In November, more than 40,000 units were under construction across Greater Vancouver, Saretsky notes. “A large portion of these units will complete this year after lengthy construction delays which should have seen them complete in 2018.”

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