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.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Man reportedly stabbed with ‘pen’ in downtown Maple Ridge

Woman arrested, man refused to go to hospital: Ridge Meadows RCMP

Maple Ridge vet trying not to euthanize spotted salamanders

Without permits, he can only send them to zoos.

No negligence in RCMP actions in B.C. teen’s overdose death: Watchdog

A Maple Ridge woman started an online petition called Justice for Carson Crimeni.

LETTER: Pitt Meadows should have lowest taxes

New council seems set on its own vision of a restyled Pitt Meadows.

Maple Ridge council wants a bolder vision for Lougheed corridor

Mayor wants big city plans for western area

‘Kind of lacking:’ Injured Bronco wonders why Canada won’t fund spinal surgery

“I think if Canada can step in and advance this program”

TransLink CEO ‘hopeful’ SkyTrain shutdown can be averted with last-minute deal

No extra buses will be on the roads if strike goes ahead

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Injured eagle rescued in White Rock: ‘It was the size of a turkey!’

Bald eagle may have gotten into a fight over territory

Don’t expect extra bus service during impending SkyTrain strike, CMBC says

Full SkyTrain shutdown is scheduled to start Tuesday morning

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Giants fall to Spokane Chiefs

‘We are just having a tough time scoring right now’

Most Read