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Greater Vancouver December home sales surge 88 per cent year-over-year

Apartment buildings in downtown Vancouver, on the north shore of False Creek, Vancouver, B.C.
Apartment buildings in downtown Vancouver, on the north shore of False Creek, Vancouver, B.C. Douglas Williams/CP

Real estate sales were brisk in December, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

In what may be an encouraging sign to homeowners concerned about dips in their recent provincial property assessments, the agency says December sales were 9.5 per cent above the 10-year average, and a whopping 88.1 per cent up year-over-year.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver real estate rebound levels off, prices hold flat in November

The REBGV also confirmed Friday what most homeowners already know: 2019 was a weak year for the market. While sales for the entire year were up a thin 3.2 per cent over 2018, they were down five per cent over 2017, and down 7.6 per cent from the 10-year average.

Click to play video 'Sticker shock from 2020 property assessments' Sticker shock from 2020 property assessments
Sticker shock from 2020 property assessments

“We didn’t see typical seasonal patterns in 2019. Homebuyer demand was quieter in the normally busy spring season and it picked up in the second half of the year,” REBGV president Ashley Smith said in a media release.

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READ MORE: Lower Mainland assessed home values dip after sluggish year for real estate market

“In terms of home values, prices dipped between two and four per cent across the region last year depending on property type.”

Inventory also continued to slim out, with 8,603 properties listed on the market, down 16.3 per cent from December 2018 and down 20 per cent from November 2019.

Greater Vancouver real estate prices, 1977-present.
Greater Vancouver real estate prices, 1977-present. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

The benchmark price of a detached home across the region was $1.423 million, down four per cent from November 2018 but up 0.6 per cent from November 2019.

The benchmark price of a condo across the region was $656,700, down 2.7 per cent year-over-year and up 0.8 per cent from November 2019.

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After a series of month-to-month declines, prices began edging slowly upward this fall.

Click to play video '‘Land of Destiny’ – A history of Vancouver real estate' ‘Land of Destiny’ – A history of Vancouver real estate
‘Land of Destiny’ – A history of Vancouver real estate

Year-over-year, detached homes in Vancouver’s West Side and Bowen Island (6.7 per cent), the Sunshine Coast (6.4 per cent), and Richmond (6.1 per cent) saw the biggest price drops.

Just Squamish (2.3 per cent), Whistler (2.2 per cent) and Port Coquitlam (0.5 per cent) saw price increases year-over-year.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver real estate sales, prices to climb in 2021: Central 1

Condos in West Vancouver (10.2 per cent), East Burnaby (7.2 per cent), Tsawwassen (6.8 per cent) and New Westminster (6.6 per cent) saw the largest price drops year-over-year.

Only condos in Whistler (1.9 per cent) and Coquitlam (1.8 per cent) saw gains.

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Homeowners in some parts of the Lower Mainland saw their provincial home assessments drop by as much as 16 per cent this month, based on valuations taken in July.

However, analysts with Central 1 Credit Union and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation have both predicted the market will stabilize in 2020, with price acceleration returning by 2021.