March 14, 2018 11:55 am

B.C. home sales dip in February as new mortgage rules take effect

A real estate sold sign is shown outside a house in Vancouver, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
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The B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) says residential home sales were down year-over-year in February, as tighter new mortgage lending rules kicked in.

According to the association, 6,206 homes sold across the province last month, down 5.7 per cent from the same month last year. However, while sales dipped year-over-year, they were still up 4.1 per cent year to date.

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The association taps new mortgage rules that kicked in on Jan. 1 for slackening pace in sales, saying that since the new rules took effect B.C. home sales have fallen by 26 per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis.

READ MORE: Number of home sales expected to drop further in 2018 due to new mortgage rules: CREA

The BCREA says in past cases of tightened mortgage lending, housing demand has weakened similarly for about four to seven months, with the biggest impact being seen three months in.

Victoria saw the sharpest dip, with home sales falling by 18 per cent, while sales in Greater Vancouver dipped by 8.9 per cent and the Fraser Valley by 1.3 per cent.

WATCH: New assessments show ups and downs of B.C. real estate

Chilliwack saw the strongest continued growth in February with sales up by 19.8 per cent.

However, that didn’t put the brakes on prices, with the provincial average for a residential sale reaching $748,327, up 8.8 per cent year-over-year.

READ MORE: Home sales dip in January, but up year-over-year: B.C. Real Estate Association

In Greater Vancouver, prices were up on average by 6.8 per cent, in the Fraser Valley by 22.9 per cent, and in Victoria by 4.2 per cent.

The sales to active listings ratio, a key metric used to determine how hot a market is, remained tight in B.C.’s biggest metropolises. Generally, a ratio below 12 per cent is considered a buyer’s market, while over 20 per cent is considered a seller’s market.

The BCREA’s February data found the ratio in Victoria at more than 64 per cent. In Greater Vancouver it was 30 per cent, while in the Fraser Valley it was 38.7 per cent.

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