Vancouver’s benchmark house price cracks $1M

VANCOUVER — The typical price of a home in Metro Vancouver surpassed $1 million for the first time last July, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on the one-year anniversary of British Columbia’s 15 per cent surtax on foreign homebuyers.

The board says the composite benchmark price for all residential properties in the area — including detached homes, townhouses and condominiums — is currently $1,019,400, up 8.7 per cent from July 2016.

The benchmark price for detached properties in Metro Vancouver is about $1.612 million, for attached properties $763,700 and for apartments $616,600.

Jill Oudil, the board’s president, said it wasn’t a surprise to see the benchmark creep over seven figures.

“It’s just an indication of the supply and demand that we’ve seen throughout the last while,” she said, noting in particular high demand and low supply for condominiums and townhomes.

The benchmark price for Metro Vancouver condominiums has jumped 18.5 per cent since last year, according to the board, and for townhomes it increased 11.9 per cent.

While home prices continued to edge up, there were more listings and fewer sales in the area last month.

The board says there were 2,960 residential property sales in the region — down 8.2 per cent from a year ago — and 5,256 properties were newly listed for sale last month. That brought the total number of listed properties above 9,000 for the first time this year.

Oudil said the spike in listings could be due to a typical seasonal slowdown in home purchases as people tend to push house hunting to the side during the summer months.

Still, she added that some pockets of the city continue to experience high demand and multiple offers for properties, while other areas have slowed.

The board released the figures one year after the province’s former Liberal government imposed a 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax.

Oudil said the board doesn’t track foreign investment but does conduct a poll of its members, which provides some insight.

“We haven’t seen that did make any drastic changes to our market,” Oudil said of the tax.

“We don’t believe that increasing taxes will necessarily change pricing and it certainly doesn’t increase supply.”

The new NDP government has said it’s reviewing whether the tax and other measures were effective.

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