Buyer's market in Vancouver


VANCOUVER -- The number of residential property sales in Metro Vancouver hit a 10-year low in June, prompting the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver to declare a buyers' market.

According to a board report released Wednesday, sales of houses, townhomes and apartments dropped to 2,362 last month, a 27.6-per-cent decline compared with 3,262 sales in June 2011.

"Overall conditions have trended in favour of buyers in our marketplace in recent months," said Eugen Klein, the board's president, in a news release. "This means buyers are facing less competition and have more selection to choose from compared to earlier in the year."

Despite the claim, prices for single-detached homes continues to rise in most Metro Vancouver markets, with some increasing by as much as 7.1 per cent in the past six months.

June sales were the lowest total for the month in the region since 2000 and 32.2 per cent below the 10-year June sales average of 3,484, the report shows.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties totalled 5,617 in June, down three per cent from the year before. That brought the market's total inventory to 18,493 units, which is up 22 per cent from the same point in 2011.

Meanwhile, the report noted, some of the hottest areas a year ago were among the coolest markets after the first six months of 2012.

Vancouver's west side, for instance, saw 769 single-detached homes sell in the first six months of 2012, down substantially from the 1,310 that sold there in the red-hot first half of 2011.

Vancouver's east side similarly saw 767 single-detached sales in the first half of 2012 compared with 1,053 in the first six months of 2011.

Richmond, another of 2011's Metro Vancouver's hot spots, saw 603 single-detached sales from January to June compared with 1,111 for the same period of 2011.

Vancouver West and Richmond, for example, saw benchmark prices — the cost of a typical home — for all forms of housing stay relatively flat from January to June, with Vancouver West recording a 2.5-per-cent increase to $823,000 and Richmond's benchmark price dropping 0.6 per cent to $590,000.

Metro Vancouver as a whole saw benchmark prices rise 2.6 per cent in the six-month period to $621,000.

However, West Vancouver and Whistler led the way with hikes in the benchmark price of 7.1 per cent each to $1.65 million in West Vancouver and $594,000 in Whistler from January to June.

The board's June report said that Squamish — a town that saw prices stagnate in recent years — was third, recording a 6.4-per-cent increase in its benchmark price to $405,000.

Other communities that saw overall price hikes from January to June included Port Moody (5.2 per cent to $513,000), East Vancouver (4.7 per cent to $622,000) and Tsawwassen (4.4 per cent to $616,000).

with a file from Tiffany Crawford

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Mike Walton

Mike Walton

CENTURY 21 In Town Realty
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