April another lethargic month for Metro Vancouver home sales: Real estate board

VANCOUVER — Home sales remained sluggish across Metro Vancouver in April and real estate analysts slam government policies for the lack of activity.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says residential home sales last month were 43.1 per cent below the 10-year April sales average.

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Across the region, April sales totalled 1,829, a 29 per cent decrease compared with sales one year earlier, but the board says activity has edged up 5.9 per cent since March.

The listless market is also reflected in prices, with the board reporting the composite benchmark price for Metro Vancouver residential properties is currently $1,008,400, an 8.5 per cent year-over-year decrease, and a 0.3 per cent skid since March.

Real estate board president Ashley Smith blames government intervention for the tepid market.

She says the federally imposed mortgage stress test has reduced buyers' purchasing power by about 20 per cent, causing entry-level buyers to struggle to secure financing.

"Suppressing housing activity through government policy not only reduces home sales, it harms the job market, economic growth and creates pent-up demand," says Smith in a statement, adding that more homes are for sale in Metro Vancouver than at any time since October 2014.

"This trend is more about reduced demand than increased supply," she says.

"The number of new listings coming on the market each month (is) consistent with our long-term averages. It's the reduced sales activity that's allowing listings to accumulate."

Just over 14,000 homes are currently listed for sale in Metro Vancouver, which the board says is a 46 per cent increase in one year and a 12 per cent leap since the tally one month ago.

The sales-to-active listings ratio also saw a nearly one per cent slip since March, to its April setting of 12.7 per cent.

The calculation reflects the ratio between the number of homes sold and the number of new listings being added to the market. Broken down by property type, it stands at 9.4 per cent for detached homes, 15.4 per cent for townhomes and 15.3 per cent for condo apartments.

Analysts expect downward pressure on prices when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for several months, while home prices tend to climb when the ratio moves above 20 per cent.

The benchmark price in April for a detached home was $1,425,200, an 11.1 per cent drop in one year and a slip of 0.8 per cent compared with the setting one month earlier.

The benchmark price for a Metro Vancouver condo was $656,900, down 6.9 per cent from April of last year but unchanged since March 2019.

Townhome prices also didn't budge month-to-month but the board says April's benchmark of $783,300 is 7.5 per cent lower than it was in April of last year.

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