Monday, June 16, 2014

Mortgage wars at big banks helps drive B.C. home sales: Economist

VANCOUVER - The mortgage wars between big banks helped stoke British Columbia’s real estate markets to their busiest May since 2007, according to the B.C. Real Estate Association.
The province’s 13 real estate boards recorded 8,729 sales through the Multiple Listing Service, a 14-per-cent increase from the same month a year ago with big bumps in the key Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley markets influencing the provincial increase.
Sale are still way off May of 2007’s near 12,000 transactions, but they increased double-digits in nine of 11 real estate boards, which pushed up prices. The provincial average price for a home in May was up six per cent from a year ago to $565,233.
“Rock-bottom mortgage rates are inducing many would-be buyers to enter the market this spring,” Cameron Muir, the BCREA’s chief economist said in a news release. “With most B.C. markets now in balanced conditions, home prices are up in nine of 11 board areas.”
Over the first five months of 2014, Muir said sales were up 17 per cent to 32,894 units compared with 2013 and the cumulative average price was up 7.7 per cent to $571,648. The total value of all real estate sold was up 26 per cent to $18.8 billion.
“Consumer demand was noticeably stronger last month with unit sales posting their highest level for the month of May since 2007,” Muir said.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley saw the biggest increases in sales, but the sizable Victoria, Okanagan Mainline — which includes Kelowna — and Vancouver Island boards also saw strong gains.

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