Home sales in British Columbia plummeted last month compared with March of last year, but the B.C. Real Estate Association stated that the decline was not reflected in prices.
Sales figures released by the association for March showed that 7,409 homes changed hands last month, a decline of 24.6% over March 2017, while average property prices climbed 5.3% over the same period.
A news release from the association said that the average home sold for $726,930 last month. The BCREA attributed the climate of persistently high prices to the lack of properties available for sale, noting that the total of active listings has changed very little since March 2017, nudging a 12-year low across B.C.
Association chief economist Cameron Muir predicted that prices will continue to climb as long as the trend continues. He also criticized what he called the “burdensome” mortgage qualification rules that took effect in January, saying they have had the “predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand.”
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“You simply cannot pull as much as 20% of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand,” Muir said, as quoted by The Canadian Press.
B.C. home sales in March tallied $5.39 billion, a 20.6% tumble compared with March 2017. Meanwhile, quarterly sales dollar volumes since January have slipped 1.7% year-over-year to $13.9 billion.
Residential sales also fell 9.4% during the first three months of this year. On the other hand, the average price of a home increased 8.5% to just over $732,000 during the same period.