Vancouver home sales set new records in June

Plus, luxury car sales take off and city hall protects low-cost housing

Hot properties
It’s not just the weather that continues to be hot in Lower Mainland B.C. More Metro Vancouver homes sold last month than in any previous June ever, the second-highest overall monthly total on record, according to figures released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). Sales were 28.4 per cent higher than June 2014, 7.9 per cent higher than May 2015 and 29.1 per cent higher than the June 10-year average. It was also the fourth straight month with more than 4,000 sales, a first in REBGV history. The number of listings has increased but has not kept up with buyer demand, says REBGV president Darcy McLeod in a news release. “Conditions today are being driven by low interest rates, a declining supply of detached homes, a growing population, a provincial economy that’s outperforming the rest of Canada, pent-up demand from previous years and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that we live in a highly desirable region,” he says.

Ride to the top
Also hot in B.C. are luxury car sales, which are the highest in the country, according to a report from Scotiabank. Driven largely by increased household wealth and house price appreciation, luxury car purchases are 15 per cent of overall sales in B.C., nearly 50 per cent more than the national average. Canadian luxury car sales now account for more than 10 per cent of the new vehicle market, the highest level on record and well above the 8 per cent average that was normal over the past decade, according to the report.

Rooms for improvement
At the opposite end of the housing scale, the City of Vancouver is taking measures to protect the supply of single room occupancy (SRO) rental accommodation. It proposes to increase the fee for converting an SRA (single room accommodation) to market housing from $15,000 to $125,000 per room, regulate how repairs to SRAs affect tenants, allocate up to $2 million for housing, encourage nonprofit organizations to upgrade, purchase or lease SROs, and work with the provincial government to limit rent increases for SRA rooms.