New townhouses for sale in the Willoughby area. (Langley Advance Times files)

New townhouses for sale in the Willoughby area. (Langley Advance Times files)

Home sales still down from recent peaks in Langley

Prices are off their 2018 highs for houses and townhouses

Home sales were still way down from last year’s numbers in March, but the president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board suggested it means more opportunities for buyers.

“Many of our communities are seeing higher inventory levels, especially in the attached market with the number of available townhomes almost doubling and Fraser Valley condos more than doubling compared to last year,” said Darin Germyn, FVREB president.

The Fraser Valley area, stretching from North Delta through to Abbotsford and Mission, had 7,011 active listings at the end of March, up 46.2 per cent compared to March of 2018.

There were 2,872 homes newly listed for sale this March. Traditionally, real estate sales are slowest in the middle of the winter and pick up in the spring and early summer.

Sales, meanwhile, are down sharply compared to last year.

There were 1,221 sales of houses, condos, and townhouses in the region in March, down 26.6 per cent from a year before.

In Langley, sales of detached houses were down 27.8 per cent, townhouse sales were down 38.1 per cent, but condo sales held steady, up 1.2 per cent on March of 2018.

Prices were following the slowdown in sales, which reaches back to early last year.

The benchmark price of a Langley house was $986,700, staying under the $1 million mark and down 3.9 per cent from last year.

The benchmark townhouse price was $487,800, down 5.3 per cent from a year before, and the condo benchmark was $416,900, down 6.2 per cent.

While sales were down, people continued to put their homes on the market.

There were 358 houses listed for sale in March, up 53.6 per cent from a year ago. Townhouses for sale more than doubled, to 203 from 95 last year, a 113.7 per cent increase.

But condo inventory is growing the fastest. There were 265 condos for sale in Langley in March, up 159.8 per cent from the 102 for sale in the same month last year.

“There has been some correction,” said longtime Langley realtor Deanna Horn.

But she noted prices are down to 2017 levels, and that the market is now balanced between buyers and sellers.

“Buyers have selection, they have time to think,” Horn said, compared to the rapid selling and bidding wars of 2016 and 2017.

That said, she believes sales were picking up, particularly in condos.

“There’s no doubt about it, we’re into a spring market,” Horn said.

Realtors north of the Fraser River were less sanguine about the current state of the market.

The Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board covers Vancouver, the North Shore, and suburbs north of the Fraser River.

Sales in that region were 46.3 per cent below the 10-year March sales average, and the lowest total since 1986.

REBGV president Ashley Smith blamed government policy for the crash in home sales in the region.