British Columbia

Metro Vancouver home sales fall to lowest total since 2000

The sales total for 2018 was a quarter below the region’s 10-year sales average, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Last year's sales total was a quarter below region’s 10-year sales average, stats show

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver on June 12, 2018. The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board says 2018 home sales across Metro Vancouver — from the Sunshine Coast and Whistler to Maple Ridge — were the lowest annual total since 2000. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Home sales in metro Vancouver plummeted to their lowest level in nearly two decades last year and the average home price moved lower in the once red-hot real estate market.

The total number of homes sold in Metro Vancouver last year fell to 24,619, marking the lowest total since 2000, according to data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. That's down 31.6 per cent from nearly 36,000 in 2017 and 25 per cent below the region's 10-year average.

The composite benchmark price for a home, which includes detached properties, townhomes and condominiums, dropped 2.7 per cent from December 2017 to finish the year at $1,032,400.

Detached homes led the fall as their benchmark price fell 7.8 per cent from December 2017 to $1,479,000.

The Landing condo development is seen under construction in Langley, B.C., on Monday December 10, 2018. The developers of the 78-unit complex in Langley were offering to pay the first 20 buyers' mortgages for a year and give the remaining buyers a $10,000 discount. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Townhome and condominium prices saw small gains over the year. The benchmark price of a townhouse rose 1.3 per cent year-over-year to $809,700, while the benchmark price of a condominium advanced 0.6 per cent to $664,100.

"As the total supply of homes for sale began to accumulate in the spring, we began to see downward pressure on prices across all home types throughout the latter half of the year,'' said REBGV president Phil Moore.

Condo prices were down 0.6 per cent from November 2018, while townhome prices fell 1.1 per cent month-over-month.

Moore called 2018 "a transition period'' for the region's housing market, which moved away from sellers' market conditions.

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

The housing market in the Fraser Valley also saw a slowdown in 2018. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said sales dropped 30.2 per cent last year, down to 15,586 total sales — the lowest since 2013.

A crane is seen at a condo development under construction as condo and office towers fill the downtown skyline in Vancouver on March 30, 2018. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press)

The boards' data comes a day after BC Assessment — an independent, provincial Crown corporation whose estimates are used to determine property taxes — released data showing a drop of up to 15 per cent on the estimated values of some detached homes in urban areas of Greater Vancouver as of July 1, 2018.

The median single-family residential property value in Vancouver, Burnaby and North Vancouver fell four per cent, according to BC Assessment. In the district of West Vancouver, the drop was 12 per cent, while on the University Endowment Lands it was 11 per cent.

As the real estate market softens in some areas, Greater Vancouver is now seeing signs of moderation, BC Assessment said in a statement.

Other areas, though, still experienced gains. The median single-family residential property value in Port Moody, Port Coquitlam and Squamish rose between four and six per cent.

Residential strata units, like condominiums, rose between zero and 25 per cent in urban areas of Greater Vancouver, according to the data.