BC Home Sales Up Nearly 20% Despite Low Inventory

November 15, 2017

Home sales across BC in October rose 19.3% year over year, to 8,677 units, despite extremely low inventory, according to a report issued November 14 by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

That’s also an increase of 4% from the 8,340 sales reported across the province in September this year.

At $720,129, BC’s average home resale price in October was nearly 19% higher than one year ago, and up 3.8% – or more than $26,000 – in the single month since September 2017. That figure, combined with October’s sales numbers, pushed last month’s total sales dollar volume up more than 40% year over year.

Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist, observed, “A lack of supply in the resale market continues to put upward pressure on home prices in most BC regions.”

The number of BC homes actively listed for sale last month was down 5.1%, to 27,987 units, compared with the same month last year. According to the BCREA, that’s a drop of 49% over the past five years.

This means that BC is still in an overall strong sellers’ market, with the sales-to-active listings ratio climbing to 31% last month (a balanced market is 12-20%).

This fall’s relatively strong sales activity, compared with the slowdown seen one year ago, has not yet been enough to balance out the huge sales figures seen in spring 2016. Year to date, BC’s total home sales dollar volume is $63.8 billion, 9.4% lower than in January-October 2016. Residential unit sales are down 10.7%, to 90,290 units sold in 2017 so far, and the MLS® residential price has risen a modest 1.4% to $706,881, averaged across the 10-month period.

Breaking down October’s figures by region, only the Victoria and Okanagan Mainline boards reported lower sales than the same month a year ago, down 10.3% and 5.5% respectively. Of the larger markets, Greater Vancouver saw the biggest annual increase in sales, up by more than one-third, with total sales dollar volume rising an impressive 62.2%. These jumps are likely because that region saw the sharpest sales declines in fall last year, following the introduction of the Metro Vancouver foreign buyer tax.

In terms of average home sale prices, only the smaller markets of BC Northern, Kamloops, Kootenay and Powell River saw year-over-year declines. Of the 11 BC boards, the largest average resale price increase was again in Greater Vancouver, up 20.5% from the previous October to $1,074,834.

Read the full report, including a breakdown by all the regions across BC.