The residential market in the Greater Vancouver Area remained surprisingly steadfast in 2017 despite a series of government cooling measures.
Although both the number of closed sales and the number of listings in Vancouver and its surrounding areas fell significantly, home prices rose thanks to a relatively strong condominium market, according to a year-end report by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released Wednesday.
There were 35,993 sales in Greater Vancouver last year, a 9.9% decrease from 2016 and a 15% fall from the 42,326 registered in 2015.
Despite a decline from the previous two years, the number of sales in 2017 was still the third highest over the last 10 years.
Homes available for sale reached 54,655 in 2017, representing a 5.1% decrease compared to 2016 and a 4.5% decrease from 2015. The listings total was the second lowest in 10 years.
Meanwhile, the composite benchmark price, which takes into consideration factors that average and median prices do not, such as lot size, age and number of rooms, ended the year at C$1.05 million (US$836,974), up 15.9% compared to December 2016, according to the report.
The price appreciation was largely attributable to the strong townhouse and condo markets, said Jill Oudil, president of the board, in the report.
“Market activity differed considerably this year based on property type,” Ms. Oudil said. “Competition was intense in the condominium and townhome markets, with multiple offer situations becoming commonplace. The detached home market operated in a more balanced state, giving home buyers more selection to choose from and more time to make decisions.”
The benchmark price of condominiums rose 25.9% in the region last year. Townhome prices, meanwhile, increased 18.5% and single-family homes rose 7.9%.
The report didn’t offer separate data on the luxury segment. However, the two most exclusive neighborhoods, Vancouver West and West Vancouver, both had a solid year in terms of price growth.
All residential property types considered, the benchmark price for Vancouver West rose 12.6% year-over-year to C$1.35 million (US$1.08 million), while West Vancouver gained 5.8% to C$2.6 million (US$2.08 million). Apartment prices in these two neighborhoods increased 20.2% and 19.5%, respectively, to C$807,100 (US$643,170) and C$1.17 million (US$933,158).
|Greater Vancouver Residential Market in 2017|
|Metrics||Greater Vancouver||y-o-y change|
|# of sales||35,993||-9.90%|
|Source: The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver|
Since 2016, the province of British Columbia has rolled out a series of curbing measures to avoid a potential housing bubble, including a 15% foreign-buyers’ property transfer tax and an Empty Home Tax mainly targeted at foreign, speculative investment buyers.
Additionally, the government will likely make more changes this year.
“Changing interest rates and the federal government’s new mortgage qualifications could affect [buyers’] purchasing power; only time will tell what impact these rules will have on the market,” Ms. Oudil wrote in the report.
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