Photographer: Darryl Dyck/Bloomberg

Vancouver Home Sales Plunge 40%, Extending String of Declines

  • Monthly sales mark seventh consecutive year-over-year decline
  • Sales-to-listings ratio at a two-year low: real estate board

This time last year, Vancouver was one of world’s hottest housing markets as buyers turned up throughout the winter for bidding wars and sales reached an all-time high.

Today, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported transactions in Metro Vancouver plunged 40 percent in January over a year earlier as both buyers and sellers hover on the sidelines. That’s the seventh straight month of declines, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ratio of sales to listings -- used by the industry as a harbinger of prices -- is also at a two-year low, according to the board.

In September, Vancouver topped a list by UBS Group AG of global cities most at-risk of a housing bubble. Since then, predictions of a downturn in Canada’s priciest real-estate market appear to be materializing after a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers in August and tighter mortgage rules from the federal government in October. Home prices in the Greater Vancouver region are headed for an 8.5 percent drop this year, Royal LePage forecast last month.

The slowdown is hitting the market for prized single-family detached homes first. Prices last year had been rising in double digits at this time. In the past six months, they’ve fallen 6.6 percent to C$1.47 million ($1.13 million), according to board figures today.

“It’s a lukewarm start to the year,” Dan Morrison, the board’s president, said in the statement. “Home buyers and sellers are more reluctant to engage so far in 2017.”