Vancouver home sales fall nearly 20 per cent in May as inventory continues to climb

Home sales in May fell 19.9 per cent from the previous year, according to Greater Vancouver's real estate board.

Houses are shown in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 19, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Greater Vancouver’s real estate board says the number of homes that changed hands in May fell 19.9 per cent from the previous year as more new properties continued to hit the market.

Greater Vancouver Realtors said June 4 there were 2,733 home sales in the region last month, down from 3,411 sales recorded in May 2023 and 19.6 per cent below the 10-year seasonal average for May.

That came as the number of Metro Vancouver homes listed for sale rose 46.3 per cent year-over-year to 13,600, which is nearly one-fifth higher than the 10-year seasonal average. In May, there were 6,374 detached, attached and apartment properties newly available — a 12.6 per cent increase compared with May 2023.

Andrew Lis, the board’s director of economics and data analytics, called it a “surprise” that May sales came in softer than usual.

“It’s a natural inclination to chalk these trends up to one factor or another, but what we’re seeing is a culmination of factors influencing buyer and seller decisions in the market right now,” he said in a press release.

“It’s everything from higher borrowing costs, to worries about the economy, to policy interventions imposed by various levels of government.”

The latest data comes a day before the Bank of Canada is set to announce its latest policy interest rate decision. With some economists forecasting a rate cut, it could spur more potential homebuyers currently waiting on the sidelines to enter the market.

The composite benchmark home price was $1,212,000, up 2.3 per cent from a year ago and a 0.5 per cent increase from April, the real estate board reported.

“With market trends now tilting back toward more balanced conditions, as the number of new listings outpaces the number of sales, we should expect to see slower price growth over the coming months,” Lis said.

“Up until recently, prices were climbing modestly across all market segments. But with rising inventory levels and softening demand, buyers who’ve been waiting for an opportunity might have more luck this summer, even if borrowing costs remain elevated.”

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