Vancouver home sales declince

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For doubters of the perpetually rising Vancouver real estate prices the past few years, a decline in November sales may be one of the first cracks in the market's strength.

But for the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board (GVREB), which produced the statistics, the market was only returning to more balanced conditions. That mirrors the same “balanced conditions” pronounced of Vancouver’s market a week earlier by the Conference Board of Canada. Sales in the Vancouver area dropped 5.9% from a year ago, reaching 2,260 this November compared to 2,509 last year, according to the GVREB. Prices, meanwhile continued to rise, up 7.2% to $622,087 in November 2011 from $580,080 in November 2010.

“The pace of home listings entering the market eased slightly in November, compared to recent months, while sale levels remained fairly normal for this time of year,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said. “November activity helped put our market firmly in balanced territory.”

In the Conference Board of Canada report, senior economist Robin Wiebe said last week “the threat of a bubble has largely dissipated” in Vancouver, going as far as to say there never was a bubble threat.

The benchmark real estate price for all residential properties in Vancouver is down 1.4% from a June peak of $630,921, however. Sellers are sensing now may be a good time to buy, but some buyers are increasingly being discouraged by the lack of affordability.

Sales in November were down 5.8% from the ten-year average for that month. Meanwhile, the total number of listings in the Greater Vancouver MLS system was 14,090, a decline of 9% from October, but 13% higher than November 2010. Experts often cite yearly trends versus monthly, as the latter can often be due more to seasonal changes than larger trends.

The benchmark price gained the most in the detached home sector, up 11.4% in November from a year ago to reach $890,204. The benchmark price of an apartment, however was up a smaller 2.7% from a year ago to reach $399,686. Attached properties were up 4.5% in the benchmark price, reaching $510,960 in November.

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