Spring Market Trends Not Springy for Vancouver

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Jennifer Harrison

Despite a strong showing in most of Canada’s major real-estate markets in the first two months of 2012, Vancouver experienced a softening in housing activity.

Re/Max‘s Market Trends Report, which highlights sales, prices, trends and development in 15 markets across the country, found that 12 markets (80%) were reporting year-to-date sales activity ahead of last year’s levels, with more than half reporting double-digit increases.

One of the exceptions was Greater Vancouver, where sales were down 16%.

January and February of 2011 saw sales of 4,921 units in Greater Vancouver, compared with 4,142 in the same period this year.

And average home prices rose only 0.1%, from $786,233 in 2011 to $786,695 in 2012’s first two months.

Across the rest of the country, low interest rates coupled with strong consumer confidence levels and a mild winter played a significant role in the overall upswing in sales, ushering in an early start to the spring real estate market.

“Housing values are escalating at a steady pace in most major markets, said Elton Ash, regional executive vice-president, Re/Max of Western Canada. 

“Yet gains are, as predicted, much more moderate than in years past. We expect this will remain the trend moving forward, in line with the Canadian economy, as GDP growth also moves ahead at a more subdued pace. On the whole, this is a very stable and healthy housing market in line with traditional norms – with a few exceptions.”

Re/Max noted that the First-Time Buyer’s Tax Credit and changes to HST in B.C. are expected to breathe new life into this province’s housing markets this spring.

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