VANCOUVER — Home sales in British Columbia plummeted last month compared with March of last year, but the B.C. Real Estate Association says the decline was not reflected in prices.
Sales figures released by the association for March show 7,409 homes changed hands last month, a decline of 24.6 per cent over March 2017, while average property prices climbed 5.3 per cent over the same period.
A news release from the association says the average home sold for $726,930 last month and it blames persistently high prices on the lack of properties available for sale.
It says total active listings have changed very little since March of 2017, nudging a 12-year low across B.C.
Association chief economist Cameron Muir forecasts prices will continue to climb as long as the trend continues.
He is also critical of what he calls the “burdensome” mortgage qualification rules that took effect in January, saying they have had the “predictable effect of swiftly curbing housing demand.”
“You simply cannot pull as much as 20 per cent of the purchasing power away from conventional mortgage borrowers and not create a downturn in consumer demand,” Muir says in the release.
B.C. home sales in March tallied $5.39 billion, a 20.6 per cent tumble compared with March 2017, while the association says sales dollar volumes since January slipped 1.7 per cent to $13.9 billion, compared with the first quarter of last year.
Residential sales also fell 9.4 per cent during the first three months of this year, while the association reports the average price of a home increased 8.5 per cent to just over $732,000 during the same period.