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Metro Vancouver home sales up – but still out of reach for most

In what will always be a desirable market, there’s no easy fix to making home ownership more affordable.

After months of slowing down, home sales in Metro Vancouver have seen a jump in July. It seems the barriers that came with the mortgage stress test and foreign buyers tax are starting to wear off.

According to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), there were a total of 2,547 home sales across the region last month, a 23.5% increase over July 2018 and, 23.1% over June 2019.

This market pickup is happening while benchmark prices are still low, with the price of a typical Metro Vancouver home (all property types combined) now at $995,200 (a 9.4% decrease over July 2018 and a 0.3% decrease from June 2019).

It goes to show that while markets may go through periodic corrections, over any extended period, the investment holds steady. In fact, the latest report from The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, or CMHC, downgraded the risk for Greater Vancouver’s housing market. Lowered home prices and a decrease in price acceleration were given as reasons.

“Those looking to buy today continue to benefit from low interest rates, increased selection, and reduced prices compared to the heated market a few years ago,” said REBGV president Ashley Smith in a news release.

The Fraser Valley also saw an increase in movement, the real estate board processed 1,458 sales of all property types on its MLS in July, an 11.6% increase compared to sales in June 2019, and a 13% increase compared to 1,290 sales in July 2018.

“We attribute the change in July to pent‐up demand and an increase in consumer confidence,” said Chris Shields, president‐elect of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. It seems the temporary cool down was really just that.

That’s not to say there aren’t problems with the current situation. We still don’t know who owns half of the 100 highest-priced properties in Greater Vancouver, according to a report from Transparency Canada which outlines how overseas shell companies hide beneficial owners.

The benchmark home price is still far out of reach for those making an average salary. The NDP promised their foreign home buyers tax would make buying a property easier, but prices haven’t lowered enough to become accessible to most.

Ada Slivinski is the Founder & Principal of Jam PR, a boutique agency focused on helping small businesses get big exposure. You can reach her at [email protected]