Vancouver home sales in 2018 lowest in almost two decades

Chip Wilson’s home on Point Grey Road is the most valuable home in B.C. according to B.C. Assessment Authority figures.
Mark van Manen  

Chip Wilson’s home on Point Grey Road is the most valuable home in B.C. according to B.C. Assessment Authority figures. Mark van Manen PNG

"It's been a long time since we've had declining assessments", said Tsur Somerville, an associate professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business.

Curious property owners can now find out what their home is worth after the B.C. Assessment Authority released its latest numbers January 1.

"It's softening across the board actually", he added.

Property assessments in this report reflect market values as of July 1, 2018.

The top six highest-valued properties in the province saw exactly the same ranking as previous year, and there was just one newcomer in the top 10 (3489 Osler Street, Vancouver, ranked ninth). Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver.

"It's a real mix in property value changes, but the market can best be summed up as showing signs of stability across most areas of the province", said Assessor Tina Ireland.

The following table shows the Vancouver Island region's estimated range of percentage changes to 2019 assessment values by property type compared to 2018. They also hide any price declines seen in the single-family home sector, especially the high end of the market, as value gains at the lower, more populous end of the market and in the condo sector more than cancelled those out overall.

"There are definitely pockets that have seen higher increases and decreases".

That's not the case for those at the lower end of the market, he said - those sellers need to get their equity out of their home in order to move to another property or community.

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The median single-family residential property value in Vancouver, Burnaby and North Vancouver fell four per cent, according to BC Assessment. However, it's 16.5 per cent lower than the active listings of November this year.

Other areas, though, still experienced gains. "High home prices, rising interest rates and new mortgage requirements and taxes all contributed to the market conditions we saw in 2018".

Vancouver housing market forecast 2019-20. As ever, the market varies by property type, with detached homes in a very firm buyer's market at just 7.1 per cent, and townhomes and condos still holding onto balanced market conditions - although sliding - at 12 per cent and 14.2 per cent respectively.

With absorption rates low, the total number of homes now listed in Metro Vancouver is 10,275, a 47.7 per cent increase compared with the low inventory of December 2017.

"So what is the downstream implications for businesses in terms of commercial and industrial properties going up?"

"It is important to understand that increases in property assessments do not automatically translate into a corresponding increase in property taxes", explained Ireland.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

But statistics released Wednesday by the Victoria Real Estate Board in its year-end review suggest the days of 20 per cent increases in value might be a thing of the past.

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