vancouver_housing_market Photo: Kyle Ryan / Unsplash

The record-setting pace of home sales in the Vancouver market seen in the early months of the year died down in May, as 4,268 properties changed hands across the region.

That’s down from recent record-breaking results seen in April, when 4,908 homes were sold, and March, when over 5,700 sales were logged, according to data published this week by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

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While May’s total was down on a monthly basis, transactions soared 187 percent over the same month last year, when the pandemic continued to severely hinder housing market activity. Despite the slowdown from the busier late winter and early spring months, May’s total still came in nearly 28 percent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

The decline in sales did little to slow home price increases, with the MLS benchmark price for the Vancouver region climbing 14 percent annually to $1,172,800. The average sale price in May for a Vancouver detached home was $1,800,600, while the average condo went for $737,100. The figures were up 22.8 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, on an annual basis. Both the condo and detached home segments also recorded monthly average price increases.

REBGV Economist Keith Stewart said market activity remains above long-term averages, but the intensity seen earlier in the year has come down by a few degrees.

“With sales easing down from record peaks, a revised mortgage stress test that reduces the maximum borrowing amounts by approximately 4.5 percent, and the average five-year fixed mortgage rates climbing back over two per cent since the beginning of 2021, we’ll pay close attention to these factors leading into the summer to understand what affect they’ll have on the current market cycle,” Stewart said.

All three property types tracked individually by REBGV — detached homes, townhomes and condos — remained comfortably in seller’s market territory in May, meaning prices will continue to rise as demand outpaces supply.

“The seller’s market conditions experienced throughout much of the pandemic highlight the need for increasing the volume and variety of housing supply across our region,” Stewart said.

“Doing this requires a more disciplined focus on planning, reducing building costs, understanding demographic changes, and expediting the building approval process,” he added.

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