Metro Vancouver’s dismal home sales in March blamed on government policies

A news release from board president Ashley Smith calls the trend largely policy induced

Home sales in Metro Vancouver in March plunged to levels not seen in more than three decades and real-estate experts blame government policies, not a lack of demand, for the dismal showing.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports 1,727 homes changed hands, a 31.4 per cent tumble from sales recorded for the same month last year.

March 2019 sales were up just over 16 per cent when compared with February, but the real estate board says they were more than 46 per cent below the 10-year average for the month and the lowest total since 1986.

A news release from board president Ashley Smith calls the trend largely policy induced.

She says governments at all levels have imposed new taxes and borrowing requirements on the housing market for three years.

The board says the result is that housing sales are no longer aligned with the growing economy and low unemployment rates across Greater Vancouver and most of British Columbia.

“What policy-makers are failing to recognize is that demand-side measures don’t eliminate demand. They sideline potential home buyers in the short term,” Smith says in the release.

READ MORE: B.C. receives two money laundering reports after reviews of real estate, cars

She warns that shelter needs are always present and a mortgage stress test, speculation tax and other levies can’t relieve that pressure.

“Using public policy to delay local demand in the housing market just feeds disruptive cycles that have been so well-documented in our region.”

Just under 13,000 homes are currently listed for sale in Metro Vancouver, a roughly 52 per cent increase when compared with March 2018, and a 10 per cent jump in one month.

Prices for homes of all types are falling. The board reports the composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently just over $1 million, down 7.7 per cent over the year and a 0.5 per cent decrease since February.

The benchmark price for a detached home shows the greatest year-over-year skid to $1.4 million, a decrease of 10.5 per cent since March 2018.

Metro Vancouver condos had a benchmark price of just under $657,000 in March, a six per cent decrease in one year. Condos also recorded the sharpest sales chill, with a 35.3 per cent year-to-year drop.

Townhouse sales were off 27 per cent from March 2018, while the benchmark price was down six per cent over the same period to $783,600.

For all property types, real estate board data shows the sales-to-active listings ratio for March was 13.5 per cent.

Analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for several months, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over the same time frame.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

No fines issued in Chilliwack under new winter tire rules

Wondering if there was any cause for enforcement of the new winter tire rules? Us too

Mistrial declared in Chilliwack’s David Lee Roth impersonator underage sex case

David Kuntz-Angel convicted in August but BC Supreme Court Justice’s ‘mental faculties’ questioned

Housing needs of Chilliwack are the focus of new survey

City of Chilliwack is gathering information about housing needs of residents now and down the line

Chilliwack’s Greg DeVries being inducted into Canada West Hall of Fame

The former sharpshooter led the University of Alberta to a pair of national basketball titles.

OPINION: Should Charter protection against cruel and unusual treatment be extended to corporations?

B.C. Civil Liberties Association intervenes in case to be heard by Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Canada prepares as WHO decides whether to declare global coronavirus emergency

The city of Wuhan, China, has shut down outbound flights and trains

Survey finds support among Canadians for broader assisted-dying law

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote

Veteran B.C. journalist battles cancer through pioneering immunotherapy treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Much-raided Langley animal rescue society loses registered charitable status

Revoked following an audit by Canada Revenue Agency, records show

Most Read