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VANCOUVER - Vancouver homes sales have fallen to the lowest level since 2001, according to a survey by the Real Estate Board of Metro Vancouver.

The survey noted that Metro Vancouver sales totalled 2,799 in April 2012, a 13.2 per cent decline from the 3,225 sales in April 2011 and a decline of 2.6 per cent when compared with the 2,874 sales recorded in March of this year.

April sales were 16.9 per cent below the 10-year April sales average of 3,369, the board said in a release.

There were 1,126 detached properties sold in April, a decline of 19.7 per cent from the 1,402 detached sales recorded in April 2011, although the benchmark price for detached properties increased - as they did for other property categories - 6.3 per cent from April 2011 to $1,064,800.

The benchmark price for all residential properties stood at $683,800, up 3.7 per cent compared with the benchmark the previous April and an increase of 2.8 per cent over the last three months.

The highest benchmark price in April for a detached home was Vancouver West at $2.27 million, followed by West Vancouver at $1.98 million.

The benchmark price of an apartment increased 1.1 per cent from April 2011 to $375,900, while the price of a townhome increased 1.7 per cent between April 2011 and 2012 to $487,300.

Vancouver's red-hot real estate sector has been at the centre of concern over whether Canada's housing market is a bubble ready to burst.

The board's report said however that ``although April sales were below what's typical for the month, we continue to see, with a sales-to-active listing ratio of nearly 17 per cent, a balanced relationship between buyer demand and seller supply in our marketplace.''

Vancouver Sun

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