Sales of single-family homes in December 2018 dropped by 48 per cent from one year ago and were 44 per cent lower than the previous month.
Last month, 170 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 304 in November and 328 one year ago. Apartment sales in December were 65 per cent lower than in December 2017, while the number of townhouses sold last month dropped by two per cent from one year ago.
Inventory of single-family homes in December rose by 23 per cent from one year ago (941 to 761) but dipped by 12 per cent from November 2018. Active listings of apartments rose by 20 per cent (225 to 270) year over year and townhouses by 59 per cent (93 to 148).
Annual sales of single-family homes in 2018 totalled 4,543, a 19 per cent drop from 2017. However, this reduction reflects the market returning to more normal levels after the robust housing markets witnessed in 2016 and 2017.
The 2018 housing market did behave as expected, moderating after the record-setting pace set in 2016 and 2017. Government policy-side measures introduced to cool the market, such as the mortgage stress test (Guideline B-20), eroded the purchasing power of some prospective home buyers by as much as 20 per cent.
Despite lower demand, however, year-over-year benchmark prices of single-family homes continue to rise board-wide, up 10 per cent from December 2017. Price increases in individual markets ranged from seven per cent in Nanaimo to 20 per cent in Port Alberni. Small month-over-month price reductions from November to December were posted in Duncan, Nanaimo, and Port Alberni. The year-over-year benchmark prices of apartments and townhouses board-wide increased by 12 and 13 per cent, respectively.
Decreased demand and additional inventory are helping VIREB’s long-running sellers’ market transition to one that is balanced or near-balanced. However, “micro markets” are omnipresent in many communities, favouring sellers for moderately priced properties and benefitting buyers for higher-end homes.
The benchmark price of a single-family home board-wide was $506,300 in December, a 10 per cent increase from one year ago. In the apartment category, the benchmark price climbed to $319,000, up 13 per cent from last year. The benchmark price of a townhouse hit $411,500 last month, up 12 per cent over December 2017 but down slightly from November.