RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – Richmond house sales have come to a “screeching stop” this month as locals wait for a market slow down and foreigners balk at the new land transfer tax, according to a Vancouver-area realtor.
Eight single, detached homes were sold in the first two weeks of August, a 91 per cent drop from the same period last year and are well on the way to falling short of the 200 sales in the other summer months this year.
“(Local buyer’s) change in psychology is shifted from a fear of missing out ‘I need to get into the market’ to ‘hold on let’s wait and see what happens, maybe the market is slowing down. I don’t want to jump in right now,'” Realtor Steve Saretsky says. “Richmond had the highest concentration of foreign buyers at 19 per cent so that could also be a huge factor.”
He says sales were already inching downwards and dropped since the province introduced the 15 per cent foreign buyer’s tax, but “this is more than a slowdown, this is more like a screeching stop.”
Some deals may still be in the final stages, but Saretsky doesn’t think there will be more than 30 sales in the first half of the month and perhaps no more than 60 for the whole month.
The supply of homes coming onto the market, condo sales and prices have all remained fairly steady in Richmond, Saretsky says, and September will be the real test of the market to see whether this month’s sales is a one-off event or a downward trend.
“If it’s slow in September, that’s only going to continue through the winter,” he says.