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B.C. home sales hit eight-year high for May

B.C. home sales reached an eight-year high for the month of May this year, when $6.4 billion changed hands during real estate deals.

The latest numbers from the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) show that 10,174 residential units were sold last month, up 16.6 per cent from May 2014. Of those, 4,145 were sold in greater Vancouver, where a whopping $3.75 billion in sales was recorded.

The average price for a residential property in B.C. was $632,182 in May, up 11.8 per cent over 2014. In greater Vancouver, the average price was up 11.2 per cent to $905,701.

“Strong consumer demand is pushing home sales up in most of the large urban areas of the province,” the BCREA’s chief economist Cameron Muir said in a press release.

“A dwindling inventory of homes for sale in the face of strong demand is putting upward pressure on home prices in many regions, with the single-detached market segment experiencing most of the gains. We haven’t experienced inventories this low since prior to the financial crisis.”

So far this year, residential real estate sales worth a total of $25.5 billion have been recorded in this province, up 35.5 per cent over last year.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Real Estate Association says sales last month through its MLS system were up 3.1 per cent from April, marking the fourth consecutive month-over-month increase.

CREA chief economist Gregory Klump says a rebound in sales in Calgary and Edmonton suggests uncertainty stemming from low oil prices could be easing.

The association also revised its outlook for the full year upwards to reflect better-than-expected sales in British Columbia.

CREA now anticipates that national home sales will climb to 487,200 units this year, 1.3 per cent higher than last year.

Compared with a year ago, sales across the country in May were up 2.7 per cent, led by Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.

CREA president Pauline Aunger says news that CMHC will be increasing mortgage default insurance premiums for home buyers with less than a 10 per cent down payment effective June 1 could have impacted home sales.

"Some buyers may have jumped off the fence and purchased in May to beat the increase," Aunger said in a statement.

Source: Bethany Lindsay, Vancouver Sun