Photo: Deb Rousseau/Unsplash

It may seem like a gargantuan figure, but BC’s housing market is chugging again as encouraging signs from the summer market carry into the busy fall homebuying season.

The province’s average home price rose to $697,943 and a total of 6,938 homes changed hands in September. All that amounted to a nearly $1.3 billion increase in home sales dollar volume last month compared to September 2018.

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While the high figures make it sound like the BC housing market could be returning to its red hot (and some may argue, overheated) 2016 days, it’s actually much more like a return to normalcy.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), which released the data early on Tuesday, reported the positive gains across the province’s major housing markets, while seeking to temper reactions by providing some important context for the numbers.

“Markets across BC built on momentum from the summer,” says BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While the year-over-year increase in provincial sales was quite strong, home sales in most areas are simply returning to historically average levels.”

Indeed, even as the momentum increased through the summer and into September, 2019 still has many of the markings of a tough market when looking at all the data available for the first nine months of the year.

Year-to-date sales dollar volume is 12.4 percent lower and total sales are 8.9 percent below the same period in 2018. BCREA calls the province’s overall market conditions “balanced.”

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver had a similar story to tell earlier this month as buyers in the province’s largest housing market began getting comfortable with opening their wallets again.

Despite large home sales increases observed in September, market experts noted that the sales levels were merely “typical” when compared to historical averages. But, as one expert pointed out, the upshot is a more comfortable market for both buyers and sellers.

“We’re seeing more balanced housing market conditions over the last three months compared to what we saw at this time last year. Home buyers are more willing to make offers today, particularly in the townhome and apartment markets,” said Ashley Smith, President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, in a media release.

“This is a more comfortable market for people on both sides of a real estate transaction,” she continued.

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