Vancouver housing market less intense in May but sales, listings still strong: GVREB

VANCOUVER — The super-heated housing market in Metro Vancouver cooled slightly in May but the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board says sales still remained active.

A statement from the board says 4,268 homes changed hands across the region last month, a 13 per cent drop compared with April.

Source: REBGV

While May didn’t match record-breaking activity seen earlier in the spring, the board says transactions were still 187.4 per cent higher than those recorded in May last year during the pandemic shutdown.

Sales last month were 27.7 per cent above the 10-year sales average for May and the board says listing activity also remained above the long-term average.

Source: REBGV

The board’s economist Keith Stewart says the less intense market means home sellers must work with their agents to ensure property prices are based on current market conditions.

The benchmark price for a detached home is just over $1.8 million, a 22.8 per cent year-over-year increase and a 1.7 per cent lift since April, while Stewart says condo and townhome prices nudged up 1.2 and 1.8 per cent, respectively, in April.

Source: REBGV

Analysts will also be gauging the revised mortgage stress test that reduces maximum borrowing amounts by approximately 4.5 per cent and are watching average five-year fixed mortgage rates as they climb over two per cent for the first time this year, Stewart says.

“We’ll pay close attention to these factors leading into the summer to understand what affect they’ll have on the current market cycle,” he says in the statement.

Stewart says the seller’s market continues, with board data showing the number of sales to listings remains between 30 and 53 per cent for all types of properties, far above the 12 per cent ratio that generally leads to a dip in prices.

This highlights the need to increase the amount and type of housing available in Metro Vancouver, he says.

“Doing this requires a more disciplined focus on planning, reducing building costs, understanding demographic changes, and expediting the building approval process,” says Stewart.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 2, 2021.

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