With the strong economy and buoyant labour market, Vancouver home sales should be starting to pick up in this spring market but that certainly wasn’t the case in March.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported sales of 1,727 last month, down 31.4% from a year earlier and 16.4% lower than in February 2019.
Metro Vancouver sales were at the lowest level for more than three decades and 46.3% below the 10-year average.
"Housing demand today isn’t aligning with our growing economy and low unemployment rates. The market trends we’re seeing are largely policy induced," Ashley Smith, REBGV president said. "For three years, governments at all levels have imposed new taxes and borrowing requirements on to the housing market.”
Smith added that governments are failing to realize that demand-side policy measures don’t cut demand, they just sideline potential buyers in the short term.
“That demand is ultimately satisfied down the line because shelter needs don’t go away. Using public policy to delay local demand in the housing market just feeds disruptive cycles that have been so well-documented in our region," he said.
Listing up, prices ease
There were 4,949 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the MLS in Metro Vancouver last month, an 11.2% year-over-year gain and up 27.2% from February.
The MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $1,011,200, down 7.7% year-over-year and a 0.5% decrease compared to February 2019.
Stats by home type
Sales of detached homes in March 2019 reached 529, a 26.7 per cent decrease from the 722 sales in March 2018. The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,437,100. This represents a 10.5 per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.4 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.
Sales of apartment homes reached 873 in March 2019, a 35.3 per cent decrease compared to the 1,349 sales in March 2018. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $656,900. This represents a 5.9 per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.5 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.
Attached home sales in March 2019 totalled 325, a 27.1 per cent decrease compared to the 446 sales in March 2018. The benchmark price of an attached home is $783,600. This represents a six per cent decrease from March 2018, and a 0.7 per cent decrease compared to February 2019.