Metro Vancouver home prices dip slightly in April

VANCOUVER — April saw a blip in the rise of Metro Vancouver housing prices, which is another sign that the market is easing into a balanced state.

The Conference Board of Canada noted that Metro Vancouver’s average home price dipped 2.6 per cent to $662,348 in April from March, though it remains almost 20 per cent higher than the same month a year ago.

Conference Board analyst Robin Wiebe said that with a dramatic rise in Metro Vancouver’s new listings, it isn’t a surprise to see prices adjust as buyers take their time with offers.

Wiebe’s report observed new-listing activity in Metro Vancouver in April that was almost 63 per cent higher than it was a year ago with sales up just 17 per cent from the same month a year ago.

“[The data] says that buyers might be getting a little cautious,” Wiebe said in an interview. “But just a little.”

And Wiebe cautioned that “one month [of data] is not a trend.”

University of B.C. professor Tsur Somerville said whether Metro Vancouver prices dip or stay stable from one month to the next essentially tell the same tale.

“Instead of looking at a market where prices rose 15 per cent in a year, we’re looking at a market where large price increases are not what anybody expected,” Somerville, director of the centre for urban economics and real estate in the Sauder School of Business, said in an interview.

He expects prices “would be steady for a while,” and “getting price declines would be somewhat of a challenge in absence of something going wrong [in the economy.]”

Somerville added that the Conference Board’s report, which repurposes the monthly data compiled by Canada’s major real estate boards, is further evidence that the market is slowing and is in keeping with the forecasts of major agencies and banks.

The psychology of the market now, Somerville said, is “if we don’t buy this month, we’ll be okay next month,” which is different from the frenzy at the end of 2009.

Metro Vancouver was one of 16 markets that saw prices slip back from the previous month among the 28 that the Conference Board tracks in the index.

Victoria also saw a dip in prices, down 1.4 per cent to $515,499, as did the Fraser Valley, which was down 0.5 per cent to $451,480. Calgary saw a 1.6-per-cent dip to $392,646 and Toronto saw a 3.3-per-cent drop to $425,011.

Source: The Vancouver Sun

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