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Home sales slow in Metro Vancouver

Last Updated Aug 3, 2016 at 3:20 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

Sales dropped by just over 26 per cent in July

Home sale prices climbed by 1.4 per cent last month

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver┬ásays homes sales last month fell to their lowest level since January, a sign that one of North America’s hottest housing markets may be slowing down.

However, the decline in sales didn’t dampen prices, with the benchmark price climbing 1.4 per cent in July from a month earlier to $930,400 for Metro Vancouver.┬áThat also represents a 32.6 per cent spike compared to the same month last year.

These figures capture the last month in which foreign property buyers were not subject to a 15 per cent tax implemented Tuesday by the BC government.

Housing experts say last month’s dip in Metro Vancouver homes sales is a sign that the white hot marker may be slowing down.

With a total of 3,226 residential properties sold, July numbers fell to their lowest level since January, and were down 26.7 per cent from June and 18.9 per cent from July 2015.

“It’s consistent with a slowdown, at least on the (home) quantity side, that started last month,” Tsur Somerville from the Sauder School of Business says.

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president says the market has “a tendency to take care of itself” and he has seen a lot more buyer fatigue.

“If for the last year you’ve been trying to buy a place and you’ve been involved in 10 or 15 offers and you’re not getting anything, you’re getting very frustrated and you kind of pull away from the market for a while,” he says, adding sellers may be getting to ambitious.

Somerville says it’s still a seller’s market, with the benchmark price for a home climbing 1.9 per cent from June to $930,400, a 32.6 per cent jump from July last year, and a sales-to-active listings ratio of 38.6 per cent, far above the more even market of 12 per cent.

Despite the increase, Somerville also says it’s a slower rise in prices than over the last year, another sign of a slowdown.

While some might want to think this was caused by the new foreign buyer’s tax, Somerville says it was introduced so late in the month that it likely had no major impact, and would be difficult to calculate.

The figures include the sales made after the provincial government announced a 15 per cent foreign property buyers’ tax which came into effect Tuesday, however Somerville does not think we will ever know if the announcement had an impact on sales.