Vancouver housing market slows, prices remain high

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says high prices, new taxes, rising interest rates and stricter mortgage requirements are some of the factors causing a recent slowdown in the buying and selling of properties.

Availability of condos and townhomes ‘remains well below historical norms,’ real estate board says

The benchmark price for properties in the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Association catchment area rose 16 per cent between March 2017 and March 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says high prices, new taxes, rising interest rates and stricter mortgage requirements are some of the factors causing a recent slowdown in the buying and selling of properties.

Real estate board president Phil Moore says, even with lower sales, prices will remain high as long as the selection of properties is slim.

"Last month was the quietest March for new home listings since 2009, and the total inventory, particularly in the condo and townhome segments of homes for sale, remains well below historical norms." 

Metro Vancouver saw 2,517 homes change hands this past March, a 29.7 per cent decline over last March.

Drops in average and median prices

Overall, the board said the current composite benchmark price — an estimated value for a typical property in Greater Vancouver — is $1,084,000, a 1.1 per cent increase over the previous month.

But that masked noticeable decreases in the average sale price of homes (from $1.74 million to $1.61 million) and apartments (from $750,000 to $724,000) from February to March. 

In addition, the median selling price of homes decreased by 13 per cent and apartments by eight per cent on the west side of Vancouver. 

However, with demand for sales continuing to outstrip supply for condos and townhomes, the real estate board says prices will continue to remain high.

The benchmark price for a condo in Greater Vancouver was $693,500 in March, a 26.2 per cent increase from March 2017, while bencmark prices for townhomes reached $835,300, a 17.7 per cent hike from the previous year.

"Condos have been extremely hot over the last year ... but we're likely going to see that upward pressure start to slow, simply because price levels have got to a point where they're squeezing some buyers out of the marketplace," said Cameron Muir, the chief economist for the B.C. Real Estate Association. 

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