Home sales in the Greater Vancouver area saw a slump in February, but big changes are in store for the market later on. With new residential taxes by the BC Government coming into effect, home sales in the Vancouver region last month saw a 9 percent decrease. Sales of detached houses, condos, and townhouses totalled 2,207, slightly down from the same month last year at 2,424 sales. That’s not to say prices have decreased – they remain high – but, experts are predicting that the full impact is yet to be felt.
In the NDP minority government’s first budget release, delivered February 20th, a variety of measures were announced in an effort to help reduce home prices. This includes what it calls a speculation tax, imposed on out-of-province residence. The foreign buyers tax was also expanded beyond Metro Vancouver, which was previously the only region to have the tax when the BC Liberal government imposed it last August.
Industry experts advise against putting too much thought into February’s statistics, suggesting that the true impact of these tax measures will become clearer in the months ahead as the market heads into spring – a traditionally busy time for real estate.
While the number of sales may have seen a dip, the average prices in residential real estate saw increases. According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the average price for condos sold in Metro Vancouver increased 24.2 percent from a year earlier, to a total of $750,052. The average price for condos increased 13.5 percent in the same time period, hitting a record $938,805 last month. Detached single family homes were the only market that saw a decrease compared to last year, by a slight 1.2 percent, to an average of $1,737,030.
It was this same type of dwelling that saw the biggest decline in sales volume, with a 16.6 percent decrease from last year to just 621 transactions. This is 39.4 percent lower than the 10-year average for the month of February. Condo sales saw a 7.1 percent decrease while townhome sales slipped just 0.7 percent.