Total Greater Vancouver home sales dropped 31.6% year-over-year in March, according to new data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association.
A total of 1,745 units changed hands in the month, down from 2,551 in March 2018. Year-to-date, unit sales fell 34.1%.
Across B.C., sales slid 23% year-over-year, with a total of 5,707 sales in March, compared with 7,413 units in the same month last year. Year-to-date, unit sales fell 27%, from 18,953 to 13,816.
“B.C. home sales continue to be adversely impacted by federal mortgage policy,” said BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir. “The erosion of affordability caused by the B20 stress test has created near recession level housing demand despite the province boasting the lowest unemployment rates in a decade."
Muir said the decline in affordability due to stricter qualification requirements is leading to pent-up demand while many buyers put purchasing plans on the backburner.
“Unfortunately, new home construction is slowing as well, which will likely lead to another housing supply crunch down the road.”
The average home sale price fell 3.9% year-over-year in Greater Vancouver, dipping to $982,654, compared with $1,022,523 last year. Across B.C., the average fell 5.4% to $687,720.
The slowing sales have contributed to a rise in home inventory on the market. Total active listings across B.C. increased 36.2% to 34,295 units, compared with the same month last year. The ratio of sales to active listings has fallen from 29.4% (a strong seller’s market) to 16.6% (a balanced market) over the past year.
All the B.C. real estate boards that contributed statistics to the report cited a year-over-year decline in sales and average prices, with the exceptions of B.C. Northern, Kamloops and the very small market of Northern Lights. In the B.C. Northern region – which includes Prince George and Kitimat – average sale prices are up close to 8% over last year, reflecting renewed investment in these cities due to upcoming liquefied natural gas projects.
- with files from Joannah Connolly