Home buyer activity in Metro Vancouver remained below historical averages in January.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports that last month’s sales were 36.3 per cent below the 10-year January sales average and were the lowest total for January since 2009.
In a release Monday, the board reported residential home sales in the region totalled 1,103 last month, a 39.3-per-cent decrease from the 1,818 sales recorded in January 2018.
“Realtors are seeing more traffic at open houses compared to recent months. However, buyers are choosing to remain in a holding pattern for the time being,” said board president Phil Moore.
Moore said market conditions are largely the result of the mortgage stress test the federal government imposed at the beginning of 2018.
“This measure, coupled with an increase in mortgage rates, took away as much as 25 per cent of purchasing power from many home buyers trying to enter the market.”
However, home prices are slipping.
The board’s home price index composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,019,600, a 4.5-per-cent decrease, and a 7.2-per-cent decrease over the past six months.
“Home prices have edged down across all home types in the region over the last seven months,” Moore said.
Detached homes had the biggest price dip, down 9.1 per cent, and an 8.3 per cent decrease over the past six months.
The benchmark price of a detached home is $1,453,400. Sales of detached homes reached 339, down 30.4 per cent.
Apartments were the most popular housing type, though, with sales reaching 559 last month. Still, the sales were down 44.8 per cent. The benchmark price of an apartment is $658,600, a 1.7-per-cent drop.
Despite the buyer holding pattern, the number of home listings continues to increase, the board reported, adding that this could be putting downward pressure on prices.
There were 4,848 detached, attached and apartment Metro Vancouver homes newly listed for sale on the board’s multiple listing service system in January. That’s up 27.7 per cent compared to January 2018 and up 244.6 per cent compared to December.
The total number of homes currently listed for sale is 10,808, a 55.6-per-cent increase.