Residential pre-sale activity in Vancouver has become much weaker

Over the past few months, the decline in residential pre-sales in Vancouver was much larger than anticipated, according to a new analysis of data from MLA Canada by real estate information portal Better Dwelling.

The figures showed that of the new releases in Greater Vancouver last August, only 102 pre-sales have been sold – a substantial 77.8% annual decline.

This came with a similarly dramatic 75.6% drop in new listings for pre-sales, down to 254 units.

Significant deceleration was brought about by slow absorption rates, which led to developers deferring the release of new supply.

These factors fed into Vancouver’s lower housing starts trend in August, which came amid a series of late or cancelled developments.

“Compared to the same month last year, both multi-unit and single-detached home starts declined by over 17% in the CMA,” CMHC stated in its report covering August.

Overall, however, “year-to-date starts in the CMA remained fairly stable due to a decline in singles starts which was offset by an increase in the multi-units segment.”

Total housing sales in August was 2,231 transactions, which was 15.7% greater on a year-over-year basis.

“In recent months, home prices have generally been stabilizing in British Columbia and the Prairies, a measure which had been falling until recently,” CREA said.

“The national average price is heavily skewed by sales in the GVA and GTA, two of Canada’s most active and expensive housing markets,” its study added. “Excluding these two markets from calculations cuts more than $100,000 from the national average price, trimming it to less than $393,000 and reducing the year-over-year gain to 2.7%.”

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