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Greater Vancouver home sales surge 42 per cent in January, but prices still lag

Homes are pictured in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 16, 2019.
Homes are pictured in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

January home sales were up more than 42 per cent year-over-year in Metro Vancouver, but prices were still lower than they were a year ago, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

The organization’s latest statistics package shows that 1,571 homes were sold last month, a figure 7.3 per cent below the 10-year average.

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The stockpile of inventory shrank slightly, with a total of 8,617 homes listed on the market, down about 20 per cent from January 2019 and more than 13 per cent below the 10-year average.

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

Despite a boost in sales and tightening in supply, prices remained lower than at this point last year, though showed signs of growth over the last several months.

The benchmark price for a detached home across the region was just over $1.43 million, down 1.7 per cent from January 2019, but up one per cent over the last six months and up 0.5 per cent from December.

Greater Vancouver home prices, 1977 to present.
Greater Vancouver home prices, 1977 to present. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

The biggest year-over-year drops in price for detached homes were recorded in the Sunshine Coast (5.9 per cent), Bowen Island (5.3 per cent), Richmond (five per cent), Vancouver’s west side (3.8 per cent) and Port Moody (3.8 per cent).

Areas that saw year-over-year price growth in detached homes included Whistler (4.8 per cent), Squamish (4.7 per cent), North Vancouver (1.6 per cent), East Burnaby (0.7 per cent), Maple Ridge (0.7 per cent), Port Coquitlam (0.6 per cent), Tsawwassen (0.4 per cent) and North Burnaby (0.1 per cent).

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

The benchmark price of an apartment across the region was $663,200, down one per cent from January 2019, but up 1.5 per cent over the last six months and up one per cent from December.

Areas that saw the largest year-over-year apartment price drops include Tsawwassen (8.1 per cent), West Vancouver (8.1 per cent), Ladner (7.1 per cent), Maple Ridge (4.8 per cent), Pitt Meadows (4.6 per cent), East Burnaby (4 per cent) and South Burnaby (3.8 per cent).

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Only Port Moody (1.8 per cent), Coquitlam (1.2 per cent), East Vancouver (0.6 per cent), North Vancouver (0.3 per cent) and North Burnaby (0.1 per cent) saw year-over-year apartment price growth.

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Homeowners in some parts of the Lower Mainland saw their provincial home assessments slide as much as 16 per cent in January, 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.