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Home prices in Metro Vancouver continue to fall, but average still sits over $1M: report

A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., on June, 12, 2018.
A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., on June, 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward

The average price of a home in Greater Vancouver continued to fall in the final months of 2019, but forecasters are predicting the market will stabilize throughout the new year.

That’s according to the latest housing price survey from real estate firm Royal LePage, which found aggregate home prices across the region dropped by 4.8 per cent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2019, to $1,107,719.

That decrease came after a 5.2-per cent fall in the third quarter of last year, compared with the same period in 2018.

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The price drops were seen across various housing types. The median price for a standard two-storey home in Greater Vancouver fell by 4.7 per cent year-over-year to $1,443,918, while bungalow prices dropped 6.7 per cent to $1,195,003. The average price of a condominium fell 3.4 per cent to $645,607 during the same fourth-quarter period.

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With only West Vancouver’s and North Vancouver’s condo segments seeing price increases throughout the region, the firm says buyers are now returning to the real estate market — which could lead to a price increase in 2020.

READ MORE: Vancouver condo prices see biggest drop in Canada, but still lead the nation: report

“Sales volume is up and inventory is decreasing. This is a good sign of a recovery on the horizon,” said Randy Ryalls, general manager of Royal LePage Sterling Realty, in a statement Thursday.

“We’re likely to see some moderate price growth after last year’s decline in prices. The window of opportunity for buyers to get a deal is closing quickly for most typical buyers.”

The average price of a home in Vancouver remains over $1 million at $1,298,332, after a 2.4 per cent drop year over year. A two-storey home’s average price in the city now stands at $2,135,367, while condos are sitting at $764,009 on average.

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West Vancouver and North Vancouver remain the most expensive municipalities in the region, with the average price of a home across all housing types standing at $2,311,102 and $1,264,530, respectively.

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Surrey and Langley, meanwhile, remain the most affordable areas in the Lower Mainland. In Surrey, the average price of a home sits at $741,197 — thanks to a relatively low average condo price of $387,352 — while Langley is boasting an average home price of $752,016.

Overall, the average house price in Metro Vancouver continues to far outpace the Canada-wide average, which sits at $648,544 after a 2.2 per cent drop in the fourth quarter compared with the same period last year.

READ MORE: A Greater Vancouver condo now costs nearly as much as a house 4 years ago: Royal LePage

That’s despite modest price bumps in the national two-storey home (2.3 per cent) and bungalow (0.7 per cent) markets. Those homes now sit at average prices of $761,817 and $537,622, respectively.

Royal LePage says buyers who sat out the first half of 2019 over high prices and questions over the federal mortgage stress test are starting to return now that costs are dropping.

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“The federal government has signalled that changes could come to the mortgage stress test mechanism in 2020,” said Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper in a statement.

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“The stress test pushed people out of real estate markets across Canada temporarily. For the most part, buyers have adjusted, yet it still represents a significant hurdle as families pursue the dream of owning their own home.”

The firm said in December it expects the price of a home in Greater Vancouver to rise by 1.5 per cent year-over-year in 2020, to an aggregate price of $1,125,200.