Home sales and average prices rose in B.C. in September, according to the latest figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

Cameron Muir, chief economist for the association, says the numbers continue the year's upward trend.

"Since January of this year, we've seen sales trend higher," he said.

In September, a total of 8,340 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service during the month, an increase of 9.9 per cent from the same period last year.

Total sales amounted to $5.8 billion, up 30.2 per cent from September 2016, and the average MLS residential price was $693,774, up 18.5 per cent.

Overall numbers smaller than 2016

Despite the upward trend, 2017's numbers are still lower than last year. Muir says that's because 2016 was a blockbuster year for home sales.

"Home sales in 2016 were at record levels for the first six months, so we're comparing it to that very high level of home sales," he said. "We're not going to break records this year because we broke the all time record in 2016 by a wide margin."

The overall dollar value of B.C. residential sales were down 12.8 per cent to $57.6 billion so far this year when compared to the same time last year.

The BCREA also says residential unit sales declined 13 per cent overall so far this year to 81,608 units while the average price was down 0.2 per cent to $705,501.

With increasing demand and limited supply, Muir says it's still a tough market for buyers.

"While the economic fundamentals support elevated housing demand, rising home prices are eroding affordability, particularly for first-time buyers."

In mid-2016, the government introduced interventions to cool down the market, like the introduction of the foreign buyers tax and the tightening of mortgage rules.

"We did see some cooling in the fall of last year," he said. 

With files from The Canadian Press