Lower Mainland home prices set record

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003

Frank Luba and Ashley Ford

Canada‘s housing market — with the Lower Mainland leading the charge — is ending the year on a high.

People like Malcolm Laird and his wife Sandra Stolz, who sold their home in Calgary for about $270,000 and bought a duplex on the west side of Vancouver for $660,000, are part of a trend in which sales and prices across the country have set records.

Royal LePage Real Estate Services said in its latest report released yesterday that in B.C. “inventory levels could not keep pace with the number of buyers vying for new homes and contributed to upward pressure on prices.”

Laird, 52, a high school teacher in Calgary who’s now a mortgage broker, and his lawyer wife believe the trend will continue.

“We feel the Vancouver housing market is going to do nothing but continue to go up,” said Laird. “We don’t think it’s a bubble.”

Their 3,000-square-foot home in Calgary had five bedrooms and three bathrooms. When they take possession of their new home in January, it won’t be that much different — 2,850 square feet with three bedrooms, 21/2 bathrooms and a finished suite in the basement.

The cost was the big change.

“I think you develop, slowly after a few months, the realization that this is what you’re going to have to pay,” said Laird. “There’s a price that comes with the lifestyle.”

Royal LePage says the average price of a two-storey home on the Lower Mainland has increased by 13.2 per cent this year to $475,420, a detached bungalow by 12.2 per cent to $369,271 and a condominium by 8.3 per cent to $185,516.

Bill Binnie, president of Royal LePage Northshore Vancouver, said there has been no customary pre-Christmas sales slowdown.

“We are expecting high sales levels will continue into the first quarter of next year,” he said.

Royal says prices are up across the country with the average price of a detached bungalow rising 7.2 per cent over the past year to $238,678; a standard two-storey home 6.4 per cent to $266,039; and a condo 6.9 per cent to $154,484.

The highest price increases were in St. John’s, Nfld., and Saint John, N.B., followed by Vancouver and Victoria.

© Copyright  2003 The Province

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