House prices continue to rise

But sales in Greater Vancouver down 29% in March

 Vancouver Sun April 4, 2012


Prices of homes in the Lower Main-land area continue to climb while home sales have dropped to some of the lowest levels seen in a decade, according to data released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board on Tuesday.

In Greater Vancouver, sales of residential properties were down 29.6 per cent in March compared with a year earlier, the second-slowest March since 2002. Yet the price for a bench-mark or typical home went up 5.3 per cent to $679,000 from last year. Detached homes were up the most - 9.2 per cent to $1,056,400 - while prices for apartments increased 2.2 per cent to $375,100 and townhomes eked up 0.9 per cent to $480,900.

Only Pitt Meadows saw a drop in price with a 1.7-per-cent decline year-over-year.

New listings were down 14 per cent in March from last year but up 5.2 per cent from February. Total listings, however, have been growing steadily, up 16 per cent in March 2012 com-pared with March 2011 and up 8.4 per cent from February.

"The total number of properties for sale in Greater Vancouver has increased each month since December, which means there's more selection to choose from as we enter what's traditionally the busiest season of the year in our market," REBGV's president, Eugen Klein, said in a release.

Robyn Adamache, senior market analyst for Metro Vancouver with the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, said the resale market was now balanced, as was expected for this year. And that's true even for markets that were hot last year like Richmond, West Vancouver and the west side of Vancouver, where the single family home prices pushed the overall aggregate price up, Adamache said.

"And we're actually seeing on the single-family home side, Burnaby and the east side of Vancouver are moving more toward sellers' market conditions," she said.

A sellers' market is one where new listings are not keeping up with demand. The Vancouver-area resale market has been balanced since last year with prices and sales generally flat, Adamache said.

In the Fraser Valley, sales dropped 22 per cent year-over-year yet the bench-mark price of a detached home was up 6.8 per cent to $572,700 over the same period. The price of townhomes and apartments were both up 1.5 per cent to $315,000 and $210,600 respectively.

As in Vancouver, new listings were down (9.2 per cent) while active listings were up (4.5 per cent).

Meanwhile, in a study released Tues-day, the Conference Board of Canada has labelled the real estate markets of Vancouver and the Fraser Valley balanced in February, while it was a buyers' market in Victoria.

In Vancouver, sales were up in February compared with January but listings were down significantly - 19 per cent. That brought the sales-to-new-listings ratio to 0.517, well within the balanced market range of between 0.433 to 0.722.

In the Fraser Valley, the sales-to-new-listings ratio in February was 0.543, between the balanced market range of 0.429 to 0.699


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