The summer sizzle in the local real estate market has fizzled a bit.
There’s been a ever-so-slight downward shift in most Fraser Valley housing prices, including Langley.
Newly released numbers from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) show that the benchmark (typical) price for detached houses and townhouses in Langley dropped slightly from August.
Veteran Langley realtor Angela Evennett with HomeLife Benchmark Realty said there are a few factors creating this market cooldown.
“First of all, I don’t think it [rising real estate prices] was sustainable for an extended period of time,” Evennett said.
“And then the government stepped in and they’ve implemented the foreign buyers tax, the vacant home tax, and now mortgage changes are coming into effect, which will also affect mostly first time buyers. I think those three things probably have had an impact.”
The benchmark price for a detached house in Langley was $882,800 in September, down 0.1 per cent from August.
Even so, the price for a house in Langley was 37.7 per cent higher than September 2015.
Townhouses, locally, mirror detached houses in that regard.
In September they were worth, on average, $431,600, a 0.7 per cent decrease from the previous month.
But the average price for a Langley townhouse was still significantly higher than the previous September.
The 12-month jump equated to 39.3 per cent.
Apartments, on the other hand, were slightly more expensive in Langley in September than they were in August.
The benchmark price for a Langley condo was $261,400 in September, a 1.2 per cent bump from August. As well, stats show that Langley condos cost 29.3 per cent more than they did in September 2015.
Sales of detached homes in Langley dropped dramatically in September when compared to the same month last year.
A total of 91 Langley houses changed hands last month, a 30 per cent decrease from the previous September and a 26.6 per cent drop from August.
Even so, Evennett believes Langley is “always going to be desirable.”
“It’s a great place to live,” she said. “It’s got so many amenities, so I think the demand is always going to be there, and I think that is also evident by the amount of new construction that continues to be built and continues to sell out before it’s even completed in many developments.”
For the Fraser Valley region, the average number of days to sell a single family detached home in September was 27 days, compared to 17 days in June.
These days, subjects aren’t automatically taken out of the equation when it comes to real estate deals in Langley, which just until recently was the norm.
Evennett believes that’s a good thing.
“I think it’s very wise and sensible and a good shift to have those subjects, to protect both the buyers and sellers again,” she said.
Valley sales continued to slow throughout September, dropping below the 10-year sales average for the month for the first time this year.
“What we’re experiencing is an environment where the summer sizzle has ceased, and demand is producing numbers in-line with what we’ve seen historically. It seems dramatic, as would anything else that wasn’t the incredible, continuous uptick we’ve seen for the last 18 months,” FVREB president Charles Wiebe said.
So how much of this decline in prices have to do with the recently implemented BC Foreign Buyers Tax (FBT) in Metro Vancouver?
Not as much as you think, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which recently released a Housing Market Insight (HMI) report on the tax.
On July 25, the province implemented an additional property transfer tax of 15 per cent on home sales to foreign buyers.
According to the corporation, preliminary analysis of resale data suggests the market was slowing down prior to the tax’s introduction.
According to the corporation:
• Prior to the tax’s introduction, Vancouver was seeing a slowing pace of sales, an ongoing market shift to more condominium sales and a downward trend in average prices, and
• MLS sales declined following the start of the tax, continuing an already established trend, particularly at the higher end of the price spectrum.
“When comparing with August, benchmark prices in September have remained flat, signalling a shift in market dynamics towards a balanced market,” Wiebe said. “However, when stacked against last year at this time, prices are up significantly.”
The benchmark price of a Fraser Valley single family detached home in September was $879,200, an increase of 37.5 per cent compared to September 2015 when it was $639,500.