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BC real estate sales plunge a seasonal phenomenon

Published: |

The media loves a headline. While those of us who deal in real estate try to attract buyers, editors and writers try to attract attention. One recent headline certainly caught my eyes: “Metro Vancouver home sales plunge.”

The story looked at the latest statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. The report pointed to a 26.7 per cent drop in unit sales for July compared to the previous month. Compared to a year earlier, regional sales were down 18.9 per cent.

Crazy, right? The signs of a pending crash, right?

Well, not exactly.

Summer slowdown

Sales activity typically slows down in the summer. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver noted that, after six months of record-breaking tallies, the same thing is happening this year. Yet sales remain 6.5% above the 10-year average for the month.

Taking a closer look at the statistics, sales of Vancouver Westside real estate remained stronger than in the region as a whole. In fact, the decline in sales activity was slightly worse on the Eastside, which is traditionally more affordable. By contrast, Westside markets such as Point Grey, Dunbar and Kitsilano performed better than the regional average.

Lack of listings

A 9.9 per cent decline in listings, especially of detached and townhouse properties, played a role in lower sales. A lack of selection gave buyers fewer choices, and many ultimately chose to enjoy a summer break and come back later.

The prospect of low interest rates well into 2018 in the wake of the UK’s referendum on membership in the European Union promises to keep buyers in the market.

The recent introduction of a tax on foreign buyers will prompt some people to relist their properties after deals fell through. Other owners are listing in order to capitalize on current pricing, fearing that prices will fall.

Opportunities ahead

Playing up a drop in property sales may feed our fears, but it’s not the last word.

People need homes, and they’re still scanning Point Grey real estate listings and scouting Kitsilano condos for sale. The market is still active, and listings are still needed. If you’re thinking about buying or selling, it’s as good a time as any to get involved.

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