Home sales plummet in the Tri-Cities

Sluggish transaction volumes putting downward pressure on real estate values, says REBGV president Phil Moore

The last time home-sale numbers in Metro Vancouver were this low, Destiny's Child was topping the charts and Gladiator was still in theatres.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) said Thursday that transaction figures for the region have fallen to their lowest levels since 2000, dropping 31.6% below last year's numbers, which was already 25% below the 10-year sales average.

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In the Tri-Cities, the number of properties that changed hands in December fell 32.3% compared to the same month last year.
Townhouses saw the sharpest drop, with sales activity falling 51.6%, while condo sales saw a drop of 38.9%. Detached home transactions fell 11.9%.

"This past year has been a transition period for the Metro Vancouver housing market away from the sellers' market conditions we experienced in previous years," said Phil Moore, presidents of the REBGV. "High home prices, rising interest rates and new mortgage requirements and taxes all contributed to the market conditions we saw in 2018."

City Detached Home Townhouse Condominium
Sales activity fell in December compared to the same month in 2017 across all property types.
Coquitlam -13.6% -25% -36.6%
Port Coquitlam -15% -54.5% -41.9%
Port Moody 20% -81.3% -46.2%

While sales have been sluggish, prices are starting to take a tumble.

In Coquitlam, the home price index shows a 6.5% drop in benchmark property values, while PoCo has fallen 7.7% and Port Moody has seen a 7.3% decrease.

The variations in prices depends on the property type.

In the last six months, detached homes have seen values fall 7.5% in Coquitlam, 8.1% in Port Coquitlam and 4.3% in Port Moody. Condominium values have also fallen during the same time period, with the benchmark value dropping 6% in Coquitlam, 7.8% in Port Coquitlam and 10.3% in Port Moody.

A graph shows home sale values between 2010 and 2018 - Gary McKenna

In the Lower Mainland, the average benchmark decrease for all property types was 6.3% since June.

"As the total supply of homes for sale began to accumulate in the spring, we began to see downward pressure on prices across all home types throughout the latter half of the year," Moore said.


Across the region, REBGV said home sales totalled 1,072 in December, a 46.8% decrease from the 2,016 sales recorded during the same month in 2017 and 33.3% below November 2018.

The number of home listings has stayed relatively stable in 2018, falling 1.9% from the 54,655 listed in 2017 and 6.9% compared to the 57,596 in 2016.

"The supply of homes for sale will be an important indicator to follow in 2019," Moore said. "We've had record building activity in recent years and many projects will complete soon. This will provide additional housing options for home buyers across the region."



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