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January’s BC home sales value up 37.4 per cent annually

Real estate markets across the province saw a slower January, compared with the unusual pre-stress-test rush of buyers in December – but the home sales total was still much higher than this time last year, according to statistics released February 15
BC house fpr sale

Real estate markets across the province saw a slower January, compared with the unusual pre-stress-test rush of buyers in December – but the home sales total was still much higher than this time last year, according to statistics released February 15 by the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA).

Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist, said, “New mortgage rules requiring conventional borrowers to qualify at a higher interest rate likely contributed to the [monthly] decline in home sales last month. The impact was magnified by a strong December as many households advanced their purchase decisions ahead of the policy’s implementation.”

A total of 5,306 homes across BC were sold on the Multiple Listing Service® in January, which is around 10 per cent fewer than in December, but 18.3 per cent more than in the relatively slow January of 2017.

With prices also significantly up across the province compared with a year ago, the combination of these annual increases led to a 37.4 per cent year-over-year jump in dollar volume of sales, at $3.83 billion worth of homes sold on BC’s MLS® in January. The average resale price of a home sold in BC in January was $721,477, which is a rise of 16.4 per cent year over year.

Of the larger BC real estate boards, the Fraser Valley posted the highest annual bump in dollar volume, up 43.3 per cent – a combination of strong growth in both sales activity and resale prices.

Inventory tightening

With demand remaining high, active listings available for sale in the province fell 8.6 per cent to 20,901 units, compared with the same period last year.

Inventory tightened in all BC’s markets aside from Victoria, which improved from a 46.3 per cent sales-to-active-listings ratio a year ago to 40.5 per cent last month. However, this figure still keeps the Victoria region in strong seller’s market territory. Across the whole province, the ratio rose from a balanced market 19.6 per cent in January 2017 to a seller’s market 25.4 per cent last month.

Unusually, not one of the 11 BC real estate boards posted any year-over-year declines in sales, average prices or dollar volumes – although this may be more of a reflection of a weak market in January 2017 than a particularly strong January 2018.

National picture

The same day that BCREA issued its monthly statistics, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) published its own January figures.

Across Canada, home sales decline more sharply on a monthly basis, following December’s busy season – and unlike in BC, it was also slightly down year over year. This was led by annual declines in activity in the Greater Golden Horseshoe regional markets, including Greater Toronto.

“The piling on of yet more mortgage rule changes that took effect starting New Year’s Day has created homebuyer uncertainty and confusion,” said Andrew Peck, CREA president. “At the same time, the changes do nothing to address government concerns about home prices that stem from an ongoing supply shortage in major markets like Vancouver and Toronto.”

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