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Slow home sales create window of opportunity

VANCOUVER, B.C. – December 2, 2008 – November reductions in home sales and prices have helped improve affordability in Greater Vancouver. However, November also saw a corresponding decrease in the number of new homes coming onto the market.

In its most recent statistics release, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver declined 69.7 per cent in November 2008 to 874 from the 2,883 sales recorded in November 2007.

Residential benchmark prices, as calculated by the MLSLink Housing Price Index®, declined 12.8 per cent between May and November 2008, amounting to an 8.3 per cent year-to-date price reduction for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver between November 2007 and 2008. In May 2008, the overall residential benchmark price was $568,411, compared to $495,704 in November 2008.

"Times of turmoil, from which we always emerge, offer excellent opportunities to buy quality real estate," says REBGV president, Dave Watt.“For those whose personal finances allow them to get involved, there are opportunities in today’s housing market that have not been seen in many years.

"The local real estate market is not immune to the current economic challenges globally; however, Canada’s disciplined lending structure has kept the mortgage landscape steady in these uncertain times."

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 10.8 per cent to 3,012 in November 2008 compared to November 2007, when 3,377 new units were listed. Active listings in November declined 4.7 per cent to 18,348 from the 19,257 active listings in Greater Vancouver in October 2008.

Sales of detached properties in November 2008 declined 69.8 per cent to 322 from the 1,067 units sold during the same period in 2007. The benchmark price for detached properties declined 8.6 per cent from November 2007 to $666,525. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for a detached property in Greater Vancouver has declined 13.6 per cent.

Sales of apartment properties declined 67.9 per cent last month to 410 compared to 1,276 sales in November 2007. The benchmark price of an apartment property declined 8.6 per cent from November 2007 to $342,315. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for an apartment property in Greater Vancouver has declined 12.2 per cent.

Attached property sales in November 2008 decreased 73.7 per cent to 142, compared with the 540 sales in November 2007. The benchmark price of an attached unit declined 6.4 per cent between November 2007 and 2008 to $426,287. Since May 2008, the benchmark price for an attached property in Greater Vancouver has declined 11 per cent.

Editor’s Notes: The MLSLink Housing Price Index® (HPI) calculates benchmark prices, which represent a typical property within a market. The HPI takes into consideration what averages and medians do not – the price of housing features such as lot size, age, number of rooms, etc. These features become the composite of the ‘typical house’ in a given area. Each month’s sales determine the current prices paid for bedrooms, bathrooms, fireplaces, etc. and apply those new values to the ‘typical’ house model. The HPI measures typical, pure price change (inflation or deflation).

The Real Estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2007, 38,050 homes changed hands in the Board's area generating $1.065 billion in spin-offs. Total dollar volume of residential sales set a new record at $22.25 billion and total dollar volume of all sales set a record at $22.77 billion. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is an association representing more than 9,600 REALTORS®. The Real Estate Board provides a variety of membership services, including the Multiple Listing Service®. For more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, contact a local REALTOR® or visit www.realtylink.org.

*In August 2004, the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley boards upgraded our existing MLS systems to a common system called MLSLink. MLSLink® HPI is the latest version of the Board’s Housing Price Index (HPI) and is designed to accommodate the MLS upgrade and improve the legacy HPI product. For more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, visit www.realtylink.org.

For more information please contact:

Craig Munn, Assistant Manager of Communications
Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Phone: (604) 730-3146 Fax: (604) 730-3102
E-mail: cmunn@rebgv.org



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