Photo: Ruth Hartnup/Flickr
Metro Vancouver has experienced dramatic year-over-year home sales declines since July, and December was no different. According to the latest data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), just 1,714 homes were sold in the area last month, down 39.4 per cent from the year-ago period and down 22.6 per cent from the previous month.
Detached home sales saw the biggest year-over-year drop at 52.4 per cent, while attached home and apartment sales fell 44.6 per cent and 25.3 per cent, respectively, in that time. Despite those marked declines, home prices remain high across the board — all home categories saw year-over-year MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price increases of just over 15 per cent in December.
The REBGV report also includes Metro Vancouver home sales and price information for the entirety of 2016. Perhaps most notably, it shows that while home sales in the region have been falling since the summer, overall they came in at 39,943 for the year, only a 5.6 per cent decline from 2015 and a 20.6 per cent increase from 2014.
Meanwhile, MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all homes in Metro Vancouver was sitting at $897,600 at the end of 2016. That’s up 17.8 per cent from December 2015, but down 2.2 per cent compared to July 2016.
In a press release accompanying the new data, REBGV President Dan Morrison explains that “multiple government interventions,” chief among them a new foreign-buyer tax, were responsible for the fall in home sales in the second half of the year. However, even with that drop demand for homes still outpaced home supply, allowing prices to remain high.
“The supply of homes for sale couldn’t keep up with home buyer demand for much of 2016. This allowed home sellers to raise their asking price. It wasn’t until the last half of the year that prices began to show modest declines,” Morrison says.