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Vancouver, BC – June 14, 2010. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 4 per cent to 7,950 units in May compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province declined 11 per cent in May from April 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 7 per cent to $498,294 in May compared to the same month last year.

“A slower pace of home sales combined with an increase in the inventory of homes for sale has quelled upward pressure on home prices,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. A total of 54,362 MLS® residential listings were recorded in May, up 26 per cent from January on a seasonally adjusted basis. “Moderating market conditions in Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria are reducing the number of multiple offers as a greater selection of homes for sale lessons competition amongst home buyers,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume increased 50 per cent to $17.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales rose 31 per cent to 34,619 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 14 per cent to $505,468 over the same period.

For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, follow this

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May Statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver...
The number of properties listed for sale in Greater Vancouver continued to rise in May, while the number of sales showed a year-over-year decrease.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 3,156 in May 2010, a decline of 10.4 per cent compared to the 3,524 sales in May 2009; 5.1 per cent more than the 3,002 sales in May 2008; and 27.1 per cent less than the 4,331 sales in May 2007. May 2010 sales also represent a 10.1 per cent decline compared to last month’s sales.

In terms of number of property listings, last month marked the third consecutive month during which more than 7,000 homes were listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in Greater Vancouver.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties totalled 7,014 in May 2010, a 48.2 per cent increase compared to May 2009 when 4,733 new units were listed, and an 8.3 per cent decline compared to April 2010 when 7,648 properties were added to the MLS®.
At 17,492, the total number of property listings on the MLS® increased 10 per cent in May compared to last month, and is up 28.2 per cent compared to this time last year.
"Prospective home buyers in today’s market have a broad selection to choose from in every property type. REALTORS® are telling us they’re working with buyers who are not feeling as rushed to make a decision as they did late last year and earlier in the year," Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said.
Over the last 12 months, the overall MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver increased 16.7 per cent to $590,662 from $506,201 in May 2009.
"It’s important for those looking to buy or sell a home to remember that real estate is local and wise real estate decisions are made by those who understand current market conditions at the neighbourhood level," Moldowan said.
Sales of detached properties in May 2010 reached 1,256, a decrease of 10.4 per cent from the 1,402 detached sales recorded in May 2009 and a 4.4 per cent increase from the 1,203 units sold in May 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 19.1 per cent from May 2009 to $810,175.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,354 in May 2010, a decline of 7.1 per cent compared to the 1,458 sales in May 2009 and an increase of 8.8 per cent compared to the 1,244 sales in May 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 13.9 per cent from May 2009 to $398,783.

Attached property sales in May 2010 totalled 546, a decline of 17.8 per cent compared to the 664 sales in May 2009 and a 1.6 per cent decline from the 555 attached properties sold in May 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 14.8 per cent between May 2009 and 2010 to $500,339.

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Article written by Steve Ladurantaye, Globe and Mail...
The Canadian realestate market reignited in March, with the number of new listings skyrocketing even as the number of sales and average prices crept toward all-time highs.
February data from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed sales and prices moderating as supply began to creep back into the market, but March numbers suggest Canadians are feverishly jumping into the market to sidestep tougher mortgage requirements in effect Monday April 19 as well as to avoid new taxes being introduced in Ontario and British Columbia in June.
There were 97,663 homes put up for sale last month, a 20-per-cent jump from the previous high set in March 2008. A total of 233,402 listings have been booked since the beginning of the year, the most for any first quarter on record.
New listings are important because they can help moderate sharp price increases that occur in a sellers' market as buyers are forced to compete for what little inventory is available. That hasn't happened yet, however, with sellers still in control in most of the country.
The national average price also spiked in March, hitting $340,920 – just $300 short of the all-time high reached last October. Compared to a year ago, the average price has gained 17.6 per cent. CREA said 49,256 homes were sold, the second highest for any March and 40.8 per cent higher than March 2008.
“Negotiations still favour sellers during the home buying process in a number of major Canadian housing markets,” said Georges Pahud, the association's president. “[However,] the rise in new listings mean that buyers may shop around more before making an offer.”
In the first quarter, seasonally adjusted sales hit 130,072 homes, the fourth highest level on record. That's a 3.4-per-cent decrease from the fourth quarter, when a sizzling market spurred talk of a bubble among economists and pushed the Federal government to enact tougher mortgage rules to ensure consumers would be able to afford their mortgages should interest rates rise.
Sales activity in Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland & Labrador rose to new records in the first quarter, but the gains were moderated by a sharp drop in sales in British Columbia as consumers began to be priced out of the market.
“The erosion of housing affordability is crimping activity in some of Canada's priciest markets in the lower mainland of British Columbia,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump.

“Higher mortgage interest rates and the rise in new listings may also soon reduce some of the urgency to purchase in Toronto. Sales activity in British Columbia and Ontario is expected to ease over the second half of 2010 once the HST comes into effect, pulling national activity lower. Rising supply and lower activity will take the steam out of the pricing environment following upbeat home sales this spring.”

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VANCOUVER — Canada’s real estate markets should remain heated through the spring, fuelled by generationally low mortgage rates, before settling into “more subdued” conditions as those rates rise, says the latest forecast from Scotia Economics.
Scotia Economics senior economist Adrienne Warren said the last decade saw “the strongest decade of real price appreciation in at least 50 years,” which will require an extended period for the economy to catch up with job creation and wage increases.
“If people were looking back at the last decade thinking that was normal, well it wasn’t normal, it was an exceptional decade,” Warren said in an interview.
Right now, she said, buyers are “bombarded by news headlines saying, and I think they’re correct,” that rates have hit bottom and will go higher, which is “adding a sense of urgency” to the market.
Listings of new properties, however, have not kept pace with this surge in buying, Warren said, and the result is bidding wars for properties that have pushed average prices to test “new highs, both for new and resale homes.”
Warren estimates that nationally, average prices are about 10 to 15 per cent above their underlying “fair value,” with some western markets likely more out of line.
“We haven’t broken it down for specific markets, but I would say there’s probably a little bit of a larger overvaluation in some western markets that had bigger run-ups [in prices],” Warren said, “so that would probably apply to Vancouver.”
After a sharp fall-off in sales and prices during the recession, Warren said Metro Vancouver saw an equally sharp bounce back.
The dip in prices for Vancouver barely shows up in the annualized pricing data Warren cites in her global real estate trends report.

Metro Vancouver showed an average home price of $592,441 in 2009 following the downturn, which was negligibly lower than the $593,767 average price of 2008.

Already in the opening months of 2010, Vancouver’s average price has hit $630,028.
The Metro Vancouver market, Warren said, does tend to retain high prices because of its unique geographic constraints, which makes the region “the least affordable market [in Canada] as well.”
Warren said she expects mortgage rates to remain relatively low and that, so long as the economic recovery continues, Canada will not experience the conditions that would spark a correction of real estate prices.
She forecasts Canada will see a “normal adjustment period,” in which property prices remain relatively flat for a significant period while other aspects of the economy improve.
Warren’s forecast anticipates that Canadians will focus more on paying down debt in the coming years, a period during which a strong Canadian dollar will also restrain the economy.
She also expects the growth in new households to be slower through the coming decade than it was during the previous decade.
Article by Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun
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Home resales in Canada fell in February for a second straight month, with the biggest drop recorded in Vancouver, although purchasers were still higher on the year, the Canadian Real Estate Association said Monday.
The February decline in Vancouver and other parts on British Columbia was offset by "an equally large gain" in Toronto, CREA said.
The industry group said 42,799 units sold on a seasonally adjusted basis in February, down 1.5 per cent from the previous month, reflecting how "national sales activity has slowed while new listings continue to rise, resulting in a more balanced national resale housing market."
Sales in British Columbia were down 13.3 per cent in February from a month earlier, while Ontario posted a 3.3 per cent gain. There were 600 fewer houses sold in Vancouver in February than in January, and sales in Toronto rose by 648 units.
Year-over-year, residential sales were up 44 per cent from 2009, with Ontario and Quebec setting records, but national gains in sales activity were smaller than in the previous three months.
"Since a year will soon have elapsed following the recessionary decline and subsequent rebound for the Canadian resale market, year-over-year comparisons are expected to continue shrinking," the report said.
Meanwhile, the average resale price of homes rose 18.2 per cent in February from a year earlier to $335,655, it said.

"The Olympic Winter Games may have impacted February sales activity in British Columbia, so activity for the province in March will be closely watched," said CREA president Dale Ripplinger.

"Activity is expected to remain elevated in Ontario and British Columbia over the first half of the year, with buyers looking to beat the introduction of the HST (harmonized sales tax, in July) and expected interest rate hikes."
Millan Mulraine, economics strategist at TD Securities, said the moderating trend seen in the first two months of 2010 will be "briefly reversed over the next two months as homebuyers affected by the recent changes in Canadian mortgage rules attempt to get ahead of the April deadline."
"After this, we should see the Canadian housing market move slowly back into a balanced-market position as higher mortgage rates and prices begin to temper demand."
In a separate report Monday, Ipsos Reid said a poll showed the number of first-time buyers in British Columbia is starting to decline as housing prices rise.
The poll found that 29 per cent of home purchasers during the first quarter of this year were first-time buyers, gradually trending down from 38 per cent at the same time in 2009, but still higher than in late 2008, when only 17 per cent were first-time buyers.
"Greater Vancouver, in particular, has seen a very rapid recovery in prices since the bottom of the market in the first quarter of 2009," said Hanson Lok, senior research manager for Ipsos Reid in Vancouver. "While low mortgage rates have kept monthly payments within reach for first-time buyers, escalating prices will push many potential first-time buyers back out."
The poll suggests 53 per cent of British Columbians feel it's a seller's market, up from 14 per cent a year ago, while 68 per cent say it's a good time to buy, a number that has fallen from a high of 76 per cent in September 2009.
Article from the Province March 2010
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