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In typical springtime fashion, residential sales are on the upswing in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, according to monthly reports released Thursday.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver noted that home sales reached 3,377 in May, a seven-per-cent increase over the 3,156 sales in May 2010 and a 4.7-per-cent increase over the 3,225 sales in April 2011.

The report also said that last month's sales are 8.1 per cent below the 10-year average for sales in May, with the three highest-selling Mays in 2005, 2006 and 2007 when sales exceeded 4,000 each year.

“With a sales to active-listings ratio of 23 per cent, conditions continue to favour sellers in the Greater Vancouver housing market, but activity has eased away from the near record-setting pace we saw in March,” REBGV president Rosario Setticasi said in a statement.

“We’re seeing more activity at the high end of our market this year than we did one year ago. This is causing today’s average prices in the region to be less reflective of the total activity occurring in the marketplace.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,931 in May 2011, a 15.4-per cent-decrease compared to May 2010, when 7,014 properties were listed for sale - the second highest total for May on record, a release stated.

The report said that at 14,656, the total number of residential property listings increased two per cent in May compared to last month and declined 16 per cent from May 2010.

The benchmark price for all properties increased 6.2 per cent to $627,568 in May 2011 from $590,662 in May 2010.

The report noted that to date this year, 21 per cent of all homes sold for $1 million or higher and 20 per cent sold for $350,000 or lower. As well, 77 per cent of the properties that sold for over $1 million were located in West Vancouver, the west side of Vancouver or Richmond.

For detached homes, the benchmark price increased 10 per cent over the year to $890,833 in May.

The benchmark price of an apartment increased 2.2 per cent from May 2010 to $407,419.

Meanwhile, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,608 property sales in May, a nine-per-cent increase compared to 1,477 sold in May 2010 and a six-per-cent increase over April’s 1,516 sales.

Board president Sukh Sidhu called the Fraser Valley market “balanced,” although there were significant differences in individual communities and property types.

“For example, sales of single family detached homes in South Surrey/White Rock, Cloverdale and North Delta remain brisk with those markets favouring sellers, however in Abbotsford and Mission high inventory and downward pressure on prices is good news for buyers.,” Sidhu said in a statement. “In Langley, Surrey Central and North Surrey, conditions are balanced for sales of detached homes.”

The report noted that the benchmark price for Fraser Valley detached homes was $529,810, an increase of 2.8 per cent year-over-year.

In May, the benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhomes was $324,730, a decrease of 1.1 per cent compared to $328,295 in May 2010, while the price of apartments was $250,988 in May, a decrease of 0.5 per cent compared to the $252,221 price in May of last year.

May also finished with 2.9 per cent more active listings than April – 9,978 compared to 9,697 – but 12.6 per cent fewer than the 11,411 active listings in May 2010.

Source: Brian Morton, Vancouver Sun

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