Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Home Sales Plunge 38.8% Last Month, Real Estate Board Says

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Vancouver Home Sales Plunge 38.8% Last Month, Real Estate Board Says

Article excerpt

Vancouver home sales plunge 38.8% last month

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VANCOUVER - Home sales plunged 38.8 per cent last month compared with October 2015, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says.

The board said 2,233 properties were sold in October of this year, down from the 3,646 home sales recorded in the same month last year.

Board president Dan Morrison said changing market conditions combined with a series of government interventions in the real estate market contributed to the decline.

"Potential buyers are taking a wait-and-see approach to try and better understand what these changes mean for them," he said in a statement Wednesday.

"While sales are down across the different property types, it's the detached market that's seen the largest reduction in home buyer demand in recent months," Morrison said.

Both the B.C. and federal governments have brought in a number of measures to address soaring housing costs, particularly in Metro Vancouver.

In August, the provincial government implemented a 15 per cent tax for foreign nationals buying residential property in Metro Vancouver in a bid to stabilize the area's housing prices, which have been among the highest in North America.

Last month, the composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver was $919,300 -- a 24.8 per cent increase compared to October 2015, but a 0.8 per drop from September of this year.

Anne McMullin, president of the Urban Development Institute, a trade association representing developers in the attached and industrial properties sector, said a drop in sales represents the high-end market, which most residents have not been able to afford for some time.

She said the market began declining several months ago, prior to the foreign buyers tax.

"It was slowing in April of last spring and there's no doubt when you shock a market with a 15 per cent tax people stand on the sidelines wondering what's going to happen," she said. …

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