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B.C. home sales slide almost 10 per cent in March despite mortgage rate drop



Home sales in British Columbia took a significant dip in March, dropping nearly 10 percent compared to the same period last year. This decline, according to analysts, might be attributed to prospective buyers holding out for potential decreases in interest rates.


According to data from the B.C. Real Estate Association, residential unit sales via Multiple Listing Service (MLS) systems totaled 6,460 in March, marking a decrease of 9.5 percent from March 2023. The total dollar volume of these sales also experienced a downturn, falling by 3.6 percent year-over-year to $6.6 billion.


Brendon Ogmundson, the chief economist of the association, highlighted that prospective homebuyers seem to be in a holding pattern, anticipating a reduction in the Bank of Canada's policy rate. Ogmundson characterized March's decline as capping off a sluggish beginning to the first quarter of 2024, despite a significant decrease in fixed mortgage rates.


While the number of home sales declined, there was still an upward trend in the average price of homes in British Columbia listed on the MLS. The average price saw a notable increase of 6.5 percent from March of the previous year, reaching a substantial $1.02 million.


Despite the March setback, the overall picture for home sales in the province shows some resilience. Over the first three months of the year, home sales experienced a modest increase of 6.4 percent, totaling almost 16,000 units.


The data suggests a complex interplay of factors influencing the real estate market in British Columbia. While there is evident demand, especially reflected in the rising prices, potential buyers seem to be adopting a cautious approach, possibly awaiting favorable adjustments in interest rates.


This cautious sentiment aligns with broader economic uncertainties and market dynamics, which have been influenced by factors such as geopolitical tensions, inflation concerns, and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The housing market in British Columbia remains dynamic and responsive to various stimuli, including shifts in policy, economic indicators, and consumer sentiment. As stakeholders monitor these developments, the trajectory of home sales in the province will continue to be shaped by a multitude of factors, underscoring the need for vigilance and adaptability within the real estate industry.


In conclusion, while March witnessed a notable decline in home sales in British Columbia, the overall resilience of the market, coupled with ongoing economic and policy considerations, suggests a nuanced landscape for both buyers and sellers in the province's real estate sector.


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