Van­cou­ver home sales de­cline

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

House sales in the Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Columbia, area de­clined 26 per­cent in Au­gust from the same pe­riod last year, but ob­servers said it’s too early to tell if the in­tro­duc­tion of a 15 per cent tax on for­eign buy­ers was a ma­jor fac­tor.

The Real Es­tate Board of Greater Van­cou­ver said on Sept 2 that ex­ist­ing home sales in the Van­cou­ver area in Au­gust fell to 2,489 from 3,362 in Au­gust 2015. On Aug 2 Bri­tish Columbia in­sti­tuted the 15 per­cent tax on for­eign property buy­ers in met­ro­pol­i­tan Van­cou­ver.

“It’s hard to at­tribute how much of the slow­down was due to the tax. It was cer­tainly a con­tribut­ing fac­tor, but mostly we had a typ­i­cal sea­sonal sum­mer slow­down,” said Wayne Ryan, man­ag­ing bro­ker at Re/Max Crest Realty in Van­cou­ver in an email.

“Sales have been trend­ing down­ward for a few months and the truth is we don’t know if the tax was a big fac­tor. It will take some more time be­fore we can re­ally un­der­stand the im­pact of the new tax,” Dan Mor­ri­son, pres­i­dent of the Real Es­tate Board of Greater Van­cou­ver said in an in­ter­view.

De­spite the slump, Au­gust sales were only off 3.5 per cent from the 10-year av­er­age for the month. “Re­mem­ber we are also com­par­ing this Au­gust sales to those from a year ago, which were the high­est sales we have ever had for Au­gust,” added Mor­ri­son.

Van­cou­ver has be­come the most ex­pen­sive city in Canada for hous­ing as the av­er­age sales price of a home more than dou­bled be­tween 2005 and 2015, to 1.6 mil­lion Cana­dian dol­lars ($1.22 mil­lion), ac­cord­ing to the Real Es­tate Board of Greater Van­cou­ver. The city has also at­tracted a large num­ber of Chi­nese buy­ers.

The new tax ap­plies to just the Van­cou­ver met­ro­pol­i­tan area, not the en­tire prov­ince of Bri­tish Columbia. “Vic­to­ria which is a two-hour ferry ride way from Van­cou­ver had record sales in Au­gust. But we don’t re­ally know if that was be­cause of the tax,” Mor­ri­son said.

“If peo­ple re­ally want to come to Van­cou­ver, they will come here,” said Mor­ri­son. “If they are look­ing only for an in­vest­ment, then they will weigh their op­tions.”

Ryan has a pos­i­tive sales out­look for the rest of the year. “Our cur­rent sup­ply of prop­er­ties for sale is in line with what we nor­mally see in Septem­ber. Pro­vid­ing we don’t see a surge of list­ings com­ing to the mar­ket, which I’m not an­tic­i­pat­ing, the tax will have a min­i­mal im­pact, as sell­ers will not be in­clined to ac­cept lower of­fers due to the lim­ited se­lec­tion of list­ings avail­able,” he said.


A home for sale listed at C$7.89 mil­lion in the Point Grey neighborhood of Van­cou­ver. The city has long been one of the world’s most ex­pen­sive places to live and the mar­ket re­mained heated, but a new tax on for­eign buy­ers co­in­cided with a 26 per­cent drop in sales in Au­gust.

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