Is Vancouver’s housing market becoming more balanced?

Metro Vancouver’s real estate market remains in stable territory with a pre-spring hike in sales, according to reports released Friday.

“With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of over 18 per cent, we see fairly balanced conditions in our marketplace as we move into the traditionally busier spring season,” Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president Rosario Setticasi said in a statement.

The REBGV monthly report said that sales reached 2,545 in February, a 61.4-per-cent increase over the 1,577 sales in January and a decline of 17.8-per-cent drop from the 3,097 sales in February 2011.

February sales in Metro Vancouver were the third lowest February total in the region since 2002, although just 151 sales below the 10-year average.

New listings totalled 5,552 in February, a 2.5-per-cent decline compared to February 2011, and a 3.5-per-cent decline compared to January 2012.

The report concluded that the benchmark price for all residential properties was $670,900 in February, up six per cent compared to February 2011 and up 0.9 per cent compared to January 2012.

The benchmark price for detached properties increased 10.5 per cent from February 2011 to $1.04 million, while the price of apartments increased 2.8 per cent from February 2011 to $373,000. The price of a townhome unit increased 0.7 per cent over the same period to $473,000.

Meanwhile, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board recorded 1,269 sales in February, an increase of 59 per cent compared to January and a one-per-cent decrease from the 1,279 sales in February of 2011.

The board also received 2,846 new listings in February, a three-per-cent increase from January and a six-per-cent drop from last February’s 3,038.

The new listings take the total number of active listings to 9,037, an increase of four per cent over February 2011.

“Although our market has picked up, it’s still favouring buyers,” board president Scott Olson said in a statement, adding that the seasonal increase in sales was not as robust as in previous years. “In terms of our clients, we’re seeing more caution and deliberation when house hunting.”

The benchmark price of a detached home in the Fraser Valley in February was about $569,000, an increase of 8.3 per cent compared to $525,000 last year. Townhouse prices increased two per cent in the year, to $312,000 in February 2012, while the benchmark price of apartments increased 0.6 per cent to $202,000.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

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