Lower Mainland housing prices stable; sales volume far higher than a year ago

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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver has reported significantly higher sales in November compared to the same month of 2012. There were 2,321 sales last month, up 37.7 percent from the 1,686 sales in November 2012.

The number of transactions in the REBGV’s jurisdiction plummeted after the federal finance minister, Jim Flaherty, reduced the maximum amortization period to 25 years in June 2012.

After the Conservatives took power in 2006, Flaherty raised the limit to 40 years but dropped it by five-year increments in 2008 and 2011.

November’s sales volume is still 1.2 percent below the 10-year average for the month. And it was 12.8 percent below the number recorded in October 2013.

The benchmark price for housing within the REBGV’s area last month was $603,000, up one percent from November 2012.

The benchmark price for detached homes on Vancouver’s West Side was almost $2.1 million, up 3.3 percent over the year and 51.6 percent over five years, when the housing market went into a deep tailspin.

The benchmark price of detached homes on the East Side of Vancouver was $855,900. That was 2.5-percent higher than a year ago and 39.9 percent more than five years ago.

For apartment units, the benchmark price on the West Side was $471,500. That was a modest 0.7 percent higher than a year ago, and 14.1 percent over the benchmark price of five years ago.

On the East Side, the benchmark price of apartments was $310,300. That’s up 0.6 percent on the year and 13.4 percent over five years.

Townhouses demonstrated the largest annual price rise in Vancouver. On the West Side, they reached $705,100, up 3.8 percent on the year. On the East Side, the annual increase was 5.1 percent, reaching $525,100.

The benchmark in this category was 22.7 percent higher over five years on the West Side, and 21.3 percent on the East Side.

The largest annual percentage increase in the benchmark price of detached homes was in West Vancouver, which saw an 8.8 percent rise to $1.93 million. The only decreases over the year were in Richmond (down 2.7 percent), Bowen Island (down 1.5 percent), Tsawwassen (down 1.1 percent), the Sunshine Coast (down 3.8 percent), and Port Coquitlam (down 0.5 percent).

The largest annual percentage increase in the apartment market came in the eastern part of Burnaby, where the benchmark price rose 12.3 percent. Whistler saw the largest decrease, falling 16.1 percent in this category.

Conversely, Whistler posted the largest annual increase in the townhouse market, with a 5.9-percent hike in the benchmark price.

The REBGV does not include Surrey and Langley, which are part of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

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