Metro Vancouver has posted the lowest January sales since 2009

There were just 1,103 residential home sales in January, a 39.3% drop from a year earlier and the lowest number of January sales since 2009.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says that there were 4,848 new listings on the MLS system, a rise of 27.7% year-over-year and a 244.6% surge from December 2018.

Sales were 36.3% below the 10-year average for January but still managed to post a 2.9% increase from December’s 1,072 sales.

Phil Moore, REBGV president, says that there isn’t a lack of interest from homebuyers but they are reluctant to buy.

"Realtors are seeing more traffic at open houses compared to recent months, however, buyers are choosing to remain in a holding pattern for the time being," he said.

Buyers certainly have more choice of available homes with total inventory up more than 55% from a year earlier to 10,808. But they may be holding back to see what happens with prices as we head into the spring buying season.

Prices easing as purchase power declines
Prices have eased over the past 7 months and the MLS Home Price Index composite benchmark in January was $1,019,600, down 4.5% year-over-year and down 7.2% in the past 6 months.

“Economic fundamentals underpinning our market for home buyers and sellers remain strong. Today’s market conditions are largely the result of the mortgage stress test that the federal government imposed at the beginning of last year,” Moore said. “This measure, coupled with an increase in mortgage rates, took away as much as 25% of purchasing power from many home buyers trying to enter the market.”

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