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Home sales hit new low as Langley prices keep dropping

Even by December standards, very few homes sold in the Fraser Valley
A mixed-use housing building under construction in Langley City on Dec. 5, 2023. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Although December is traditionally a quiet month for housing sales, this year was one for the record books, in Langley and across the region.

In December, just 716 homes sold in the region from North Delta through to Abbotsford, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB).

In Langley, 41 single family houses changed hands, down 53.9 per cent from December 2021, 38 townhouses sold, a 57.8 per cent drop, and 58 condos were sold, down 51.7 per cent. In total, 137 homes of all kinds sold in Langley in December, compared to 299 in the same month the year before.

It was the same story across the region, with 716 home sales in total across the area covered by the FVREB. That was down 60.4 per cent from the year before, and a lowest December sales in the last decade.

After two years of skyrocketing housing demand, and massive price increases, the market began to slow early in 2022 in the face of Bank of Canada interest rate hikes. As the hikes continued in an attempt to fight off rising inflation, housing prices began to dip and sales continued to slow.

According to the president of the FVREB, things may pick up again in the coming months.

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READ ALSO: Housing prices slip further in Langley

“As the market has adjusted to rate hikes, we’re starting to see a resumption of interest among the public,” said Sandra Benz, FVREB president. “For some time, buyers and sellers alike have delayed decisions in somewhat of a watch-and-wait mode. This has dampened sales as well as supply since fewer new listings come onto the market. We expect activity to pick up in the coming months as this pent up supply and demand starts to emerge.”

In December, prices continued to dip across most categories of housing in Langley.

The benchmark price – the average price of a “typical” single family home – dropped to $1.48 million, down below $1.5 million for the first time since October 2021. It’s a significant drop from the market peak in May, 2022, when the benchmark price was over $1.8 million, and 10.9 per cent below the $1.66 million homes cost in the same month a year before.

Townhouses saw their benchmark price dip 2.2 per cent from November to $815,100, but remain 3.2 per cent above their selling price from a year ago. Condos dipped 1.8 per cent from the previous month, and are almost at par with prices from December 2021, at $567,700.

Regionally, detached home prices peaked at $1,766,700 in March, and ended the year at $1,377,200. That’s still far higher than it was before the pandemic – in early 2020, the average price was hovering at around $1.1 million.

As the market continues to change, new rules for home buying are also taking effect. As of Tuesday, Jan. 3, homebuyers in B.C. have a mandatory three-business-day period to secure financing or arrange home inspections.

The rules change stems from the frantic housing market of the last two years, when people were buying homes without inspections, or even sight-unseen, as part of bidding wars.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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