B.C. market achieves milestone

New figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) show that the province had its strongest April in more than a decade – despite growing concern about Alberta’s economic woes spilling across the border.

Province-wide sales during the month of April were up to 9,952 transactions, a 28.7 per cent increase from the year-ago period.

“Last month was the strongest April for home sales in a decade,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist.

“The elevated level of buying activity this spring is now expected to push 2015 home sales to their highest level since 2007.”

Of course, the 2008 recession slowed the market down at that time, and many are anticipating a similar, more-muted impact on B.C. with this year’s oil price drop-off.

But that doesn’t seem likely, especially in some of the hottest markets, such as the Fraser Valley, where home sales were up 38.1 per cent year-over year; Victoria, where home sales rose 26.1 per cent from April 2014; and, of course, the Greater Vancouver Area, where sales were up 37.7 per cent from the same period last year.

Prices, too, continue to rise. Province-wide, average sale price was up 13 per cent in April, to $634,744. In the Greater Vancouver Area, that figure rose to $899,178, a 12.2 per cent increase over the year-ago period.

“Consumers are taking full advantage of rock-bottom interest rates and are demonstrating significant confidence in the housing market,” Muir said.

“However, dwindling inventories combined with competition for detached homes in the province’s large urban markets is pushing home prices higher.”

Indeed, the market’s inventory declined last month. Active listings decreased by 11.7 per cent across the country: down 19.1 per cent in the Greater Vancouver Area, 13.8 per cent in the Fraser Valley, and 12.2 per cent in Victoria.

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