Metro Vancouver housing slowdown continues unabated

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      The latest numbers from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show especially low sales in November.

      There was a 42.5 percent drop in the number of residential transactions from the same month in 2017.

      The total of 1,608 sales last month was the fewest in the REBGV's territory in November since the 2008 global meltdown.

      The November sales were also 34.7 percent below the 10-year average for the month.

      “Homebuyers have been taking a wait-and-see approach for most of 2018," REBGV president Phil Moore said in a news release. "This has allowed the number of homes available for sale in the region to return to more typical historical levels.”

      The REBGV includes Whistler and Squamish but its territory does not extend to White Rock, North Delta, Surrey, and Langley, which are all part of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

      The benchmark price for all residential properties in the REBGV was $1.04 million in November, which was 1.9 percent down from the previous month. It was also off 1.4 percent from November 2017.

      To see how benchmark prices have changed in different areas and for different forms of residential real estate, go here.

      The market is being affected by rising interest rates, which have also reduced demand for new cars. The Bank of Canada boosted rates in October, marking the fifth time this has occurred in less than a year-and-a-half.

      In addition, tighter mortgage-qualification rules have had an impact on the number of first-time buyers who are able to purchase homes.

      In the last provincial budget, the NDP government expanded the foreign-buyers' tax beyond Metro Vancouver and increased it from 15 to 20 percent.

      Finance Minister Carole James also imposed a surtax on homes valued at more than $3 million, increased the property-transfer tax, and imposed an occupancy tax (often called a speculation tax) on homes left vacant for six months of the year.