Vancouver home sales down 26 per cent

Home sales in Vancouver fell 26 per cent in August compared to August 2015, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Dan Morrison, president of the real estate board, says the record-breaking sales seen earlier this year have been replaced by "more historically normal activity'' in July and August.

The results were eagerly awaited since British Columbia implemented a 15 per cent land tax for foreign buyers in Vancouver in an attempt to slow down the housing market there. The drop, however, may be misleading, since home sales have been on a downward trend for months before the tax came into effect.

In a news release, Morrison said the tax may have added to this trend, although the monthly report from the REBGV indicates that prices continue to climb.
The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $933,100, a 31.4 per cent jump compared to August 2015. Prices are up 4.9 per cent over the last three months.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver slightly increased .3 per cent in August compared to August 2015, but the total number of new listings was down 18.1 per cent from July.

RBC senior economist Robert Hogue said that the provincial government of B.C. had begun to signal a policy shift by collecting data on foreign ownership earlier this year and ending self-regulation of the real estate industry in June.

"Previously, the provincial government wanted to let the market work things out on its own, but then over the past few months, and particularly with that 15 per cent tax, it sent a signal that it might become more interventionist.''

It's a waiting game to see whether or not the market has truly changed or whether the August data is simply a temporary dip.

"Our priority has always been to put British Columbians first," the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Thursday, "and that includes making sure they are able to find an affordable place to call home.''

More Mortgage Guide