Vancouver home listings down, sales and prices jump

The average price is $700,500, up 11% year-over-year

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VANCOUVER – There appears to be no ceiling for the cost of homes in the Vancouver area, as more properties keep selling for higher prices.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver released statistics Wednesday showing July sales of homes jumped 30 per cent compared to the same time last year. The average price for a residential property in the board’s 16 cities, districts or municipalities was $700,500, an 11.2 per cent increase from 2014.

While the demand is high, there are fewer homes on the market, and board president Darcy McLeod said that can lead to multiple offers on homes in desirable areas.

In such cases, he said agents often have a day or two to do their due diligence.

“Certainly, setting that strategy out ahead of time with your Realtor is great advice for anybody who’s entering into buying into the marketplace.”

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A home inspector may be waiting in the wings and financing needs to be secured, he said, adding some people take an inspector with them to open houses.

The board estimates there are 5,000 to 6,000 fewer homes on the market compared to the last five to six years.

McLeod said increased buyer demand creates hesitation on the part of sellers who want to move within the same region because they are worried about what they’ll buy in an aggressive market.

Sales of detached homes also jumped by almost 18 per cent in July, with the composite price at more than $1.14 million.

However, McLeod said that figure doesn’t really represent the entire market.

Price increases can be very localized, with neighbourhoods that are really hot alongside those that are not, or others where the average price increased a year ago but remained static this year, he said.

There is still plenty of inventory — over 70 per cent — under the $1-million price tag, McLeod said.

Key factors for higher sales and pricing included desirability for living in a region, the low interest rate, and most importantly, high consumer confidence, he said.

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“Although we hear stories that it might be an over-inflated market, consumers don’t seem to think that. They’re speaking with their chequebook, so to speak, and stepping up and purchasing homes.”

He doesn’t see a cooling trend soon in a market that is driven by world factors, noting the region is attractive to people moving from other parts of the globe.

“Greater Vancouver continues to be — in terms of a global perspective — an affordable place to live. We think it’s very expensive but if you look at the overall housing stock, not everybody is living in a million-dollar detached house,” McLeod said.

“Will the prices fall significantly any time in the near future? I doubt it.”

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