Prices for new homes may be down, but Vancouver’s existing home prices are skyrocketing

Signs of weakness are lurking below the surface in Vancouver’s surging housing market, as new home prices dropped by the most in Canada over the past year.

According to data released yesterday by Statistics Canada, new home prices dropped 1.1 per cent year-over-year in Vancouver.

That was the biggest drop among major Canadian cities. Across the country prices were up 1.6 per cent, with Calgary leading the way with a 7.5 per cent year-over-year gain.

For Vancouver, it was the third straight year of decline in the New Housing Price Index. In the same time period, Toronto has shown strong gains, slowly catching up to Vancouver in the million-dollar-home benchmark club.

Meanwhile though, for those buying and selling in Vancouver’s existing home market, it’s still a story of rocketing real estate. The single-family home index was up 6.6 per cent year-over-year in April for Vancouver’s west side, at a stunning $2.2 million. Vancouver’s east side was up 8.8 per cent for the same benchmark year-over-year, to $901,000 for a single-family detached home.

Regardless, in the big picture the number of Canadians able to buy into a Vancouver housing market that has basically skyrocketed for 15 years, is steadily shrinking.

Since the global credit crisis of 2008, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has taken baby steps to reduce its massive mortgage insurance balance sheet. The CMHC continues to tighten its mortgage rules, in line with concerns of former Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. However, for those who qualify for mortgages financing remains cheap, with interest rates at historic lows.

Source: Sam Cooper, The Province

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