Ups, downs in Tri-City real estate

A slowdown in sales of houses and an overall drop in transaction activity has not hampered real estate values in the Tri-Cities, according to new data release by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

The figures show that over the last six months, prices overall have continued to climb, rising 4.9% in Coquitlam, 5.1% in Port Coquitlam and 3.7% in Port Moody. The demand is particularly acute for attached properties, like condos and townhouses, a trend seen across Metro Vancouver.

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“The supply of apartment and townhome properties for sale today is unable to meet demand,” said Jill Oudil, REBGV’s president. “On the other hand, our detached home market is beginning to enter buyers’ market territory.”

The data notes that the benchmark price for a townhouse has increased in the last six months by 6.3% in Coquitlam, 2.1% in Port Coquitlam and 4% in Port Moody; during the same period, condo prices rose 6.5% in Coquitlam, 7.4% in PoCo and 7.3% in Port Moody.

But detached home values have dropped slightly since September across the Tri-Cities, falling 0.1% in Coquitlam, 1.6% in Port Coquitlam and 0.5% in Port Moody. 

“Rising interest rates and stricter mortgage requirements have reduced home buyers’ purchasing power, particularly for those at the entry level of our market,” Oudil said. 

There are signs that sales activity is beginning to pick up after a slower winter.

According to real estate board figures, the number of sales of detached homes increased 32% from January to February in the Tri-Cities while the number of attached property transactions rose 32.6%. The number of apartments sold during the same period rose 4.3% from 141 to 147 in the three municipalities. 

Oudil said she expects the sales activity to continue to increase in the months ahead.

“The spring is traditionally the busiest time for home buyers and sellers in our market,” she said, although she noted that recent policy changes, including a new tax on homes valued at more than $3 million, could have an impact on sales activity. 

“We’ll wait to see how they react to the taxes and other policy measures that our provincial and federal governments have introduced so far this year.”

Sales activity was mixed across Metro Vancouver. The region saw 2,207 transactions in February, down 9% from the same month last year but up 21.4% compared to January. 

Detached home sales were the hardest hit, seeing a 39.4% decrease in transaction volume from February’s 10-year average, while attached sales were down 6.8% and apartments were down 5.5%.

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