Vancouver’s heated housing market saw prices continue to creep back toward last year’s record high, despite a decrease in sales activity and slower growth in the city’s pricier quarters.
A shortage of residential property and strong demand led the price gains—pushing the Housing Price Index benchmark for Greater Vancouver to $919,300, a 1.4% increase over February and a 12.7% increase from a year ago, according to a March report the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver published last week.
The index benchmarks reflect the price of a typical home in Vancouver and each of its submarkets, taking into consideration sales prices as well as typical size, age, number of rooms and other characteristics.
The price gains in March were still behind the high in August, when the HPI benchmark for Greater Vancouver reached $933,100 as demand peaked.
“While demand in March was below the record high of last year, we saw demand increase month-to-month for condos and townhomes,” said Jill Oudil, president of the city’s real estate board. “Sellers still seem reluctant to put their homes on the market, making for stiff competition among home buyers.”
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A scarcity of homes new to the market in March underscores Ms. Oudil’s point. There were 4,762 new listings in Metro Vancouver in March, roughly three-quarters what they were a year ago, according to the real estate board.
“Home prices will likely continue to increase until we see more housing supply coming on to the market,” Oudil said.
Based on March figures, Vancouver’s luxury neighborhoods have generally seen prices grow more slowly than the rest of the market and are the farthest from their summer 2016 peaks, according to monthly price index.
West Vancouver, the metro area’s most expensive region based on the real estate board’s statistical breakdown, saw its benchmark price climb just 1% over February and 6.4% from a year ago—half of the city’s average growth. West Vancouver’s benchmark price for all types of residential, at $2.489 million is down around 10% from the summer price peak.
Vancouver West, another hub for multimillion-dollar homes, registered a benchmark price of $1.219 million in March, a gain of less than 1% from February.