Vancouver sees home sales increase in May, but market still sluggish

By The Canadian Press | June 4, 2019 | Last updated on June 4, 2019
2 min read
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Home sales in Metro Vancouver showed some bounce in May, but the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board says sales remain below historical averages.

The board says 2,638 homes changed hands in May—the first time this year that sales jumped above 2,000 properties in a month.

It’s a 44.2% rise over the 1,829 homes sold one month earlier, but a 6.9% fall from the 2,833 homes sold in May 2018.

Sales in May remained nearly 23% below the 10-year May sales average and the lowest for May since 2000.

The number of listed homes across Metro Vancouver also edged upward 2.3% between April and May, to 14,685, marking the highest number of properties for sale in the region since September 2014.

Real estate board data shows the ratio of sales to active listings averaged 18% for all property types last month. The ratio dropped to just over 14% for detached homes and remained at, or just above, 20% for townhomes and apartments.

Generally, analysts expect prices to drop when the ratio falls below 12%, while a sustained ratio above 20% can push prices up.

The composite benchmark price for all residential homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,006,400, an 8.9% tumble in one year, a 3.4% skid over the last six months and a 0.4% slip since April.

Ashley Smith, the board’s president, blames government policies for continuing sluggish housing sales.

“High home prices and mortgage qualification issues caused by the federal government’s B20 stress test remain significant factors behind the reduced demand that the market is experiencing today,” Smith says in a statement.

Read: Stressing over the mortgage stress test

Sales of apartment condominiums slipped most dramatically since May 2018, falling 12.9%.

The benchmark price for condominiums is $664,200, a 7.3% decrease over the same period and a slip of 2% in six months.

Read: House prices stabilize, but condos buck the trend

Detached home sales dropped 1.4% since May 2018, while the $1,421,900 benchmark price is 11.5% lower since then and marks a 5.4% decrease in six months.

Only attached homes showed a modest 0.6% sales increase over 12 months, and prices climbed marginally over the last months. But, overall, the real estate board says the $779,400 benchmark price is down 7.6% from May 2018.

The real estate board covers 15 cities, municipalities and regions across Metro Vancouver, from Vancouver to Whistler, the Sunshine Coast, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Richmond and South Delta.

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