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Condos, townhomes hottest sellers in Metro Vancouver: real estate board

Last Updated Jun 2, 2017 at 1:20 pm PDT

VANCOUVER – Home sales across Metro Vancouver rebounded to near record levels in May but demand is now being driven by condominiums and townhomes, a real estate expert says.

That’s a shift from booming single-family home sales last year, said Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Jill Oudil.

“First-time buyers and people looking to downsize from their single-family homes are both competing for these two types of housing,” she said in a news release.

Real estate sales dropped off dramatically in Metro Vancouver shortly after B.C. Premier Christy Clark introduced a 15-per-cent foreign buyers tax last August in an attempt to cool the overheated market.

After the legislation was introduced, Clark said her government was focused on increasing the housing supply and protecting buyers and sellers.

But the renewed upward trend appears to show the market correction may be temporary.

Fewer people are putting their homes on the market and that is what kept prices steady or climbing, Oudil said. She warned in April that home prices are likely to continue to increase until more housing supply comes on the market.

Residential property sales totalled 4,364 in May, a leap of 22.8 per cent over the homes sold one month earlier, the real estate board said.

The numbers are 23.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and mark the third-highest selling May on record.

New listings for all property types also increased 23.2 per cent across the region compared with April, but available townhomes for sale climbed at the slowest pace, followed by apartments and detached homes, Oudil said.

“Homebuyers are beginning to have more selection to choose from in the detached market, but the number of condominiums for sale continues to decline,” she said.

Numbers from the board show sales-to-active listings are 94.6 per cent for condominiums, 76.1 per cent for townhomes and 31 per cent for detached homes.

Generally, analysts say home prices often climb when sales-to-active listings are above 20 per cent over several months.

The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $967,500, an 8.8 per cent increase over May 2016 and a 2.8 per cent increase compared with April 2017.

By property type, the benchmark price for a condo is currently $571,300, a 17.8 per cent increase over May 2016 and a 3.1 per cent jump since April.

The benchmark for a townhome is $715,400, up 13.1 per cent since last May, while the benchmark for a detached property is $1,561,000, a 3.1 per cent increase in one year.

The real estate board says May’s sales numbers, while strong, remain 8.5 per cent below the all-time sales record of 4,769, recorded in the same month last year.

Almost 40,000 homes changed ownership in the board’s area last year. The total value of transactions through the multiple listings service for that period was $40 billion.