House prices, sales rise again

Jeff Evans

Alan Campbell, Richmond News

It may not yet be time to cork the champagne, but there appears to be light at the end of the Richmond real estate tunnel.

For the second time in a row this year, sales prices and sales volume improved from the previous month.

And, according to figures released this week by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the number of attached properties sold in the city in April this year compared to the same month in 2008 increased 17.9 per cent from 112 to 132.

The positive vibes in the market are far removed from just six months ago when the worldwide financial crunch finally bit down on Richmond’s seemingly recession-proof real estate market.

“We’re seeing greater balance in the housing market,” Scott Russell, REBGV president, said of the industry across the region.

“(This is) evidenced by a strong sales to active listings ratio of over 19 per cent.”

Russell says all the positivity in the market is beginning to redress the supply and demand gap that widened during last year’s crash.

“The result is a relatively stable market in which homes are being realistically priced,” he said.

“The bridge between buyer demand and housing supply is continuing to narrow, which, as we see, helps bring stability to home prices.

“The trends in our housing market over the last couple of months offer a much more comfortable, historically normal set of conditions.”

The benchmark (typical property) price for a detached home in Richmond last month was $682,124, down 11.4 per cent from last year.

However, this is a slight improvement in March’s year on year figure of minus 12.2 per cent.

Sales of attached properties in April in the city were down 8.1 per cent from the same month last year to $429,472.

Meanwhile, apartment benchmark prices dropped 11.4 per cent from last year to $285,925.

All of the city’s benchmark prices for April were up fractionally compared to the average for the first three months of 2009.

The number of properties sold in the city last month was still down significantly from April, 2008.

But the number of sales in April was up markedly from March this year with detached up from 118 to 135, attached (89 to 132) and apartment (130 to 162).

The simple equation of more buyers and fewer homes for sale in recent months has breathed life into the stagnant market.

For the sixth consecutive month, new listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined in Greater Vancouver, down 33.7 per cent to 4,649 in April 2009 compared to April 2008.

REBGV also reported that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,963 in April.

This is a decline of eight per cent from April 2008, but an increase of 31 per cent compared to March this year.

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