Home sale activity improves but remains below historical averages
Lower levels of both supply and demand in recent months are holding home prices in check in the Greater Vancouver housing market.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,347 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March 2013. This represents an 18.3 per cent decrease compared to the 2,874 sales recorded in March 2012, and a 30.6 per cent increase compared to the 1,797 sales in February 2013.
Last month’s sales were the second lowest March total in the region since 2001 and 30.2 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month.
“While home sales were below what’s typical for March, we are seeing more balance between the number of sales and listings on the market in the last two months, which is having a stabilizing impact on home prices,” Sandra Wyant, REBGV president said.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 15.2 per cent in Greater Vancouver, a three per cent increase from last month. This is the first time this ratio has been above 15 per cent since May 2012.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 4,839 in March. This represents a 17.2 per cent decline compared to the 5,843 new listings reported in March 2012 and a 0.1 per cent increase from the 4,833 new listings in February of this year. Last month’s new listing count was 14.4 per cent below the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® in Greater Vancouver is 15,460, a 1.5 per cent increase compared to March 2012 and a 4.5 per cent increase compared to February 2013.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver is currently $593,100. This represents a decline of 3.9 per cent compared to this time last year and an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to January 2013.
Sales of detached properties reached 933 in March 2013, a decrease of 21.1 per cent from the 1,183 detached sales recorded in March 2012, and a 48 per cent decrease from the 1,795 units sold in March 2011. The benchmark price for detached properties decreased 5 per cent from March 2012 to $906,900.
Sales of apartment properties reached 982 in March 2013, a decline of 17.5 per cent compared to the 1,191 sales in March 2012, and a decrease of 39.5 per cent compared to the 1,622 sales in March 2011. The benchmark price of an apartment property decreased 3.3 per cent from March 2012 to $362,100.
Attached property sales in March 2013 totalled 432, a decline of 13.6 per cent compared to the 500 sales in March 2012, and a 34.8 per cent decrease from the 663 attached properties sold in March 2011. The benchmark price of an attached unit decreased 2.5 per cent between March 2012 and 2013 to $454,300.
April 1 marked the return of the GST and PST tax structure in the province. From a real estate perspective, it’s important to remember that:
• sales tax on a new home is reduced to 5 per cent GST plus 2 per cent BC Transition Tax (total 7 per cent) from 12 per cent under the HST; and
• tax on real estate commissions has been reduced to 5 per cent from 12 per cent under the HST.
These reduced tax rates apply to transactions payable on or after April 1.