Vancouver Home Sales Decline for 5th Straight Month in November

(Bloomberg) -- Vancouver home sales plunged 37 percent in November from a year earlier, extending the slowdown in Canada’s most expensive property market for the fifth straight month.

Transactions in the Pacific coast city fell to 2,214 in the month, from 3,524 a year earlier, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Friday. That was 7.6 percent below the 10-year average for November.

Sales have been falling year-on-year since July, with buyers sitting out as the price of a typical home skyrocketed to more than 12 times the median household income of residents in Vancouver. It topped a list of global cities identified by UBS Group AG as most at risk of a housing bubble.

Further policy measures aimed at cooling the market contributed to the slowdown, including a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers imposed by British Columbia’s provincial government in August, tighter federal mortgage insurance eligibility requirements in October, and plans by the city to start taxing vacant homes next year.

The effect on prices remains muted. The benchmark price for a single-family detached house in Vancouver rose 23 percent in November from the same month last year to C$1,511,100 ($1,137,000). The benchmark price for all residential properties in metro Vancouver climbed to C$908,300, a 21 percent increase from a year earlier and a 1.2 percent decline from the prior month.