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Vancouver Sun - Jun 28, 2013

Balanced housing market conditions throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley - with sales representing at least 15 per cent of listings - should ensure stable house prices for at least the next year.

 

That was the consensus among real estate representatives Thursday after a Conference Board of Canada report revealed home sales rose in 24 of 28 Canadian markets between April and May this year.

 

Metro Vancouver sales on the Multiple Listing Service rose by nearly 10 per cent to 2,882 while Fraser Valley sales rose by one per cent to 1,379.

 

Sales in both jurisdictions fell from the same month last year and are well down from historical highs but the Conference Board noted the average selling price of a Metro Vancouver residential property rose by 4.8 per cent in the past year to $744,712. The average Fraser Valley price rose by two per cent to $486,072.

 

"Values might be up a little bit in some markets but for the most part, things are pretty steady and not going in a big direction either way," Fraser Valley Real Estate Board president Ron Todson said in an interview.

"There's no obvious reason to expect a quick jolt either way."

 

He said balanced market conditions exist when sales represent anywhere from 15 to 25 per cent of total listings and that's the situation in the Fraser Valley, with the sales-to-listings ratio ranging from 15 per cent in North Surrey to 25 per cent in Cloverdale.

 

Average MLS selling prices can be deceiving because the sale of a few high-priced luxury properties can skew the overall average price.

 

Real estate boards like to use "benchmark" prices to determine price trends and the benchmark price for a detached single-family home in the Fraser Valley was $549,200 in May - a 0.2-per-cent increase over the May 2012 price.

The composite benchmark price for all Metro Vancouver residential properties was $598,400 in May - a 4.3-percent drop from May 2012 but 1.8 per cent higher than January 2013.

 

The Metro Vancouver market switched from a buyers' market to a balanced market in March, when the sales-to-listings ratio rose from 14 per cent to 15 per cent, where it still stands, said Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president-elect Ray Harris.

 

"Historically, we're in some of the slowest times we've had over the past five to 10 years but the buyers' market that existed for a couple of years has transitioned to a more balanced market with more stability," he said.

Re/Max Westcoast manager Richard Laurendeau said Metro Vancouver sellers generally get about 95 or 96 per cent of their asking price now but it usually takes a few days longer for homes to sell. He said it took an average of 54 days to sell a home last month, compared with 45 days in May 2012.

 

RESALE HOME VALUES IN MAY, WITH YEARLY CHANGE

 

Vancouver: $744,712; up 4.8%

Fraser Valley: $486,072; up 2%

Victoria: $469,343; down 4.6%

Calgary: $426,155; up 3.3%

Winnipeg: $259,523; up 1.6%

Toronto: $515,294; up 3.4%

Montreal: $319,486; up 2.4%

Source: Conference Board of Canada

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