BC market achieves milestone

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The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) said the province had its strongest April in more than a decade – that despite growing concern about Alberta’s economic woes spilling over the border.

Province-wide sales during the month of April were up to 9,952 transactions, a 28.7 per cent increase from the year-ago period.

“Last month was the strongest April for home sales in a decade,” writes Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist, as part of the Thursday data release. “The elevated level of buying activity this spring is now expected to push 2015 home sales to their highest level since 2007.”

Of course, the 2008 recession slowed the market at that time, and many are anticipating a similar, more-muted effect to hit BC with this year’s oil price drop-off.

But that doesn’t seem likely, especially in some of the hottest markets, such as the Fraser Valley, where home sales were up 38.1 per cent year-over year; Victoria, where home sales rose 26.1 per cent from April 2014; and, of course, Greater Vancouver, where sales were up 37.7 per cent from the same period last year.

Prices, too, continue to rise. Province-wide, average sale price was up 13 per cent in April, to $634,744. In Greater Vancouver, that figure rose to $899,178, a 12.2 per cent increase over the year-ago period.

“Consumers are taking full advantage of rock-bottom interest rates and are demonstrating significant confidence in the housing market,” Muir said. “However, dwindling inventories combined with competition for detached homes in the province’s large urban markets is pushing home prices higher.”

Indeed, the market’s inventory declined last month.

Active listings were down 11.7 per cent across the country, and down 19.1 per cent in Greater Vancouver, 13.8 per cent in the Fraser Valley, and 12.2 per cent in Victoria.

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