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March 2013 residential real estate sales decreased 18.3 per cent since March 2012.

Residential prices continue to fall, but an increase in the sales-to-active-listings ratio points to increased market balance

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s most recent account of the previous month’s residential real estate sales and listings activity points to an increased stabilization of the local market. While sales did decrease in March 2013 by 18.3 per cent since March 2012, the new listings added to the MLS also decreased by a comparable 17.2 per cent, pointing to the fact that while sales may be down, the amount of stock available on the market is also coming down to meet this decreased demand.

Month-to-month stabilization was also seen in the sales-to-active-listings ratio, which saw a three per cent bump between February and March 2013, to currently rest at 15.2 per cent. This increase marks the first time the ratio has been above 15 per cent since March 2012.

“While home sales were below what’s typical for March, we are seeing more balance between the number of sales and listings on the market in the last two months, which is having a stabilizing impact on home prices,” said the REBGV president Sandra Wyant in a press release from April 3, 2013.

The REBGV also provided a breakdown of prices for homes across Greater Vancouver.

The benchmark price for all residential properties (including detached, attached and apartment) in Greater Vancouver sits at $593,100, with single-family detached homes bringing in a benchmark price of $906,900—a five per cent decrease from March 2012.

Clocking in as the most expensive neighbourhood for single-family detached homes was Vancouver West, which currently has a benchmark price of $2,026,400, while the lowest benchmark price is found on the Sunshine Coast (currently listed at $338,800).

April 1 brought a big change to the residential real estate sales and listings industry, with the return of GST and PST. When it comes to real estate, it’s important to remember the following two points:

Sales Tax on a new home is reduced to five per cent GST plus an additional two per cent B.C. Transition Tax, coming to a total of seven per cent (as opposed to 12 per cent under HST rules).

Tax on real estate commissions has also been reduced from HST’s 12 per cent to five per cent.