BC Market Sees Highest-Ever Home Sales in a Single Month: BCREA

Friday, May 13th, 2016

Combined residential transaction sales across all provincial real estate boards smashes records yet again, reports association

Joannah Connolly

BC real estate boards posted a record-breaking total of 12,969 residential unit sales in April, up 30.3 per cent from the same month last year, according to BC Real Estate Association figured released May 13.

This follows March’s previous record sales of 12,560 units, which had been driven by record transactions in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

However, unlike in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, BC’s April figures are even higher than March’s figures, pushed even higher by steep growth on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan.

“Housing demand is exceptionally strong across the southern regions of the province,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist. “Consumers appear to be particularly active in the Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley and the Thompson/Okanagan regions.”

BC’s total home sales dollar volume in April was naturally another record, at $9.64 billion in April, up 52.7 per cent compared with the same month last year. This is reflective of both increasing total transactions and the average MLS® BC home price in April rising 20.6 per cent year-over-year to $761,860.

“Strong employment growth is helping underpin consumer confidence,” added Muir.

The report noted that the BC economy employed more than 78,000 additional workers during the first four months of the year, a rise of 3.5 per cent over the same period last year.

As usual, the overall figures for the province obscure significant differences between various real estate markets across BC, although many previously poorly performing northern and interior markets turned around their declines last month.

Of the larger markets, the steepest annual growth in total unit sales was once more seen in the Fraser Valley, where transactions jumped 49.5 per cent compared with April 2015. As has been the case in the last couple of months, Victoria and Vancouver Island came next in terms of growth, both posting even steeper annual rises than Greater Vancouver’s 15 per cent jump, increasing 48.9 per cent and 44 per cent, respectively. Of all the boards, Chilliwack posted the sharpest rise in unit sales, at 88.6 per cent year over year, but this is from just 281 units last year to 530 this April.

Greater Vancouver’s 15 per cent annual rise in sales was also beaten out by Kamloops (up 39.7 per cent), Okanagan Mainline (34.3 per cent), Kootenay (29.3 per cent), South Okanagan (24.5 per cent) and Powell River (17.5 per cent – although its numbers are so small, the annual changes are highly volatile). In fact, Greater Vancouver’s sales growth was the third smallest of the 12 provincial boards.

However, Greater Vancouver remained the region deepest in seller’s market territory, with a sales-to-active-listings ratio of nearly 32 per cent, the province’s highest – having overtaken the Fraser Valley in this area last month.

After its slight recovery in March, the Fraser Valley’s ratio tightened up again to 29 per cent – still a great improvement over February’s near-60 per cent ratio, due to the spring market unleashing new listings over the past two months.

The large, active markets contrast starkly with some smaller regions in the north of the province. Frequent market stragglers Northern Lights and BC Northern both posted year-over-year drops in sales, of 4 per cent and 8.4 per cent respectively.

Northern Lights was also the only region to see a year-over-year average price drop, of nearly 23 per cent.

The Fraser Valley once more posted the sharpest average annual price increase, up 27.9 per cent, followed by Greater Vancouver, at 21.4 per cent, then Chilliwack, at just over 22.8 per cent.

To read the full BCREA report, click here.

© 2016 Real Estate Weekly

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