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B.C. home sales cut in half as high borrowing costs depress sales activity

Home sales in Greater Vancouver are close to the lowest they can get, says BCREA economist
There were half as many B.C. home sales last month as there were in January 2022, according to BCREA data

There were half as many B.C. home sales last month as there were in January 2022, according to new data released Feb. 14 by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

It has been a slow start to the year for the market, with 3,047 residential sales recorded on the Multiple Listing Service throughout the province, down 50.3 per cent year over year.

The total active listings throughout B.C. were also “well below normal,” according to the BCREA, but up 67.1 per cent year over year to just under 22,000 listings in January 2023, compared13,072 active listings in January 2022. 

In Greater Vancouver, active residential listings rose 31.3 per cent over the same period, to 7,862 units from 5,987. 

“I think that'll happen for most of this year, we're going to be at levels of active listings that are higher than they were last year,” Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA chief economist, told Glacier Media. 

“When we compare it to historical average levels, we're still pretty low in Vancouver at what we had in January, just under 8000 active listings. Normal is a level closer to 15,000. So, we're still not at a healthy level of active listings.” 

The slowdown in activity can be attributed to high borrowing costs that continue to put downward pressure on sales, according to Ogmundson. 

Average residential prices in B.C. fell 16.1 per cent from an average price of over $1 million in January 2022, to $872,934, according to the BCREA. Greater Vancouver prices declined 8.4 per cent to an average of $1,167,134. 

“While average prices have flattened out in many markets over the past few months, year-over-year measures reflect the decline that occurred from the peak in 2022, as well as a marked shift in the composition of sales away from more expensive homes,” Ogmundson said in a release. 

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