On April 15th, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reported residential sales dollar volume on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in BC declined 35% to $2.3 billion in March, compared to the same month last year. Residential unit sales declined 25% to 5,464 units during the same period. The average MLS residential price in the province was $424,122 in March, down 12% from March 2008.
However, Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist, noted “While fewer MLS® residential sales were recorded last month compared to March 2008, home sales actually climbed 24% from February to March on a seasonally adjusted basis, the second consecutive month of gains.”
A significant increase in affordability helped fuel demand for BC housing last month. “Reduced mortgage interest rates have effectively doubled the impact of lower home prices on affordability,” added Muir. While the average sales price in BC declined 12% from a year ago, the monthly payment on the average priced home was 24% lower. “Housing is now more affordable than at any time in the last three years,” noted Muir.