Published: Sun, January 06, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

BC housing market shows signs of moderation: assessment agency

BC housing market shows signs of moderation: assessment agency

A combination of unsustainably high home prices, rising interest rates, increased taxes and the mortgage stress test are being held responsible for slow residential real estate market activity in Metro Vancouver, according to statistics released today.

Phil Moore, REBGV president, said, "This past year has been a transition period for the Metro Vancouver housing market away from the sellers' market conditions we experienced in previous years".

While prices for detached properties in many neighbourhoods on Vancouver's West Side have declined to levels not seen since early 2016, the affordability crisis is far from over, said Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's City Program. By contrast, the benchmark price in the suburb of Pitt Meadows showed a year-over-year gain of 2 per cent to $912,000.

"As 2018 has progressed, demand and home prices have now softened across all market segments and local geographies".

Homes assessed on July 1, 2017 were typically in the range of $1.82 million, while numbers from July 1, 2018 sat at $1.75 million.

The number of properties for sale was also up at the end of the year with 1,988 active listings in December, an increase of 43.6 per cent over the 1,384 listings for sale at the end of December 2017. They also hide any price declines seen in the single-family home sector, especially the high end of the market, as value gains at the lower, more populous end of the market and in the condo sector more than cancelled those out overall.

The board's report, released Thursday, says there were 24,619 sales of detached, attached and apartment properties on the Multiple Listing Service, a 31.6 per cent decrease from the 35,993 sales in 2017.

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Home sales in metro Vancouver plummeted to their lowest level in almost two decades past year and the average home price moved lower in the once red-hot real estate market.

Condo values rose in all three municipalities with average assessments of $707,000 in the City of North Vancouver, $758,000 in the District of North Vancouver and just under $1.3 million in West Vancouver.

Still, housing in the Vancouver area remains unaffordable, he said. In December, there were 375 sales of all property types, down from 462 in the same month in 2017. The condo and townhouse segments had bucked the downward pressure until mid-2018, but have seen prices weaken over the past six months.

"When properties similar to your property are sold around July 1, those sales prices are used to calculate your assessed value". "The Northern B.C. region encompasses approximately 70 per cent of the province stretching east to the Alberta border, north to the Yukon border, west to Bella Coola including Haida Gwaii and to the south, just north of Clinton".

"In order to build homes on [speculation] you have to have affordable land", Edge said.

However, value declines and increases vary by municipality and property type.

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