Property sales strengthen in current market cycle

VANCOUVER, B.C. April 2, 2009  The Metro Vancouver housing market experienced a movement away from volatility and toward stability to start the spring season.

Home sales in March 2009 returned to levels witnessed at the beginning of the decade, with 2,265 sales recorded across Metro Vancouver for the month, a 53 percent increase over February but a 24.4 percent decrease over March 2008, when 2,997 sales were recorded.

Since 1999, March sales have increased 31 percent, on average, over the month of February. March 2009 marks the second consecutive month that sales have outperformed the ten-year average for this month-over-month comparison.

Theres more confidence in the housing market today than we were seeing late last year. Sales activity is rising to more typical levels given the season, and the number of homes being listed for sale is levelling off, said Scott Russell, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

New residential listings on the MLS® declined 22 per cent in March 2009 to 4,385 compared to March 2008. This is the fifth month in a row that new listings have decreased year-over-year and the third consecutive month where those declines exceeded 20 per cent.

Despite these trends, total active listings at the end of March 2009 had still reached 14,579, a 19 percent increase compared to the end of March 2008.

REALTORS® are seeing an increasing level of interest from first-time buyers who are attracted to low interest rates, good supply of housing, greater affordability, and a considerably lower overall cost of servicing a mortgage compared to recent years, Russell said.

Sales of detached properties in March 2009 declined 19.6 percent to 897 from the 1,116 units sold during the same period in 2008. The benchmark price, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, for detached properties declined 15.1 percent from March 2008 to $649,342.

Sales of apartment properties declined 28.8 percent last month to 976, compared to the 1,370 sales in March 2008. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 13.5 percent from March 2008 to $337,099.

Attached property sales in March 2009 decreased 23.3 percent to 392, compared with the 511 sales during the same month in 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 11.2 percent between March 2008 and 2009 to $420,563.
 
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