New mortgage rules still driving Fraser Valley home sales down: broker

Sales were down 24 per cent last month compared to this time last year

Real estate sales across the Fraser Valley were down a significant 24 per cent in March compared to a year ago, according to the latest numbers, but one real estate broker said there’s no need to panic.

“The 10-year average is 1,658 sales per month, and we processed 1,654 [this month],” said Michael Trites, managing broker with Royal LePage NorthStar in Surrey. “The sky isn’t falling.”

Referring to the latest numbers from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, Trites said the drop was nevertheless some cause for concern for those selling their homes, as they may need to drop their price for a more sluggish market.

“That will set a precedent for houses that are similar to it,” he said. “If your neighbour down the street sells for $1 million, you’re logically thinking that your house is worth a million. But if he has to take $950,000 for it, it’s not worth $1 million anymore.”

As for detached homes, Trites said sales were down pretty evenly across the region.

“White Rock is down 29.9 per cent, Langley is down 39.6 per cent, North Delta is down 30.0 per cent and Surrey is down 27.6 per cent.”

Even in the booming condo market, there’s a decline in sales from last year – 27.9% across the valley. “Last year was very much a strong banner year.”

Trites attributes the trend to the change in mortgage rules, known as the “stress test” that was implemented earlier this year.

All borrowers must now qualify for a mortgage based on either the five-year benchmark rate or their lender’s actual rate plus two per cent, whichever is higher. The change will apply to all mortgages, new or renewed, even if the down payment exceeds 20 per cent.

While there have been murmurs of how the province’s recently announced speculation tax, and newly expanded foreign buyer tax, will affect the housing market, Trites said it’s still too soon to feel the effects of that proposal.

Prices on Fraser Valley real estate, meanwhile, continued to rise in March.

The benchmark price of a single-family detached home went up 0.9 per cent compared to the previous month and 15.2 per cent compared to last year.

The benchmark price of a townhouse climbed two per cent compared to last month and 24.9 per cent compared to last year.

The benchmark price of a condo grew 4.3 per cent compared to last month and 48 per cent compared to last year.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Maple syrup taffy among treats and demos at 11th annual Vive les Voyageurs festival

Fort Langley National Historic Site celebrated French Canadians and Métis fur traders

LETTER: Different taxation system necessary

Langley Township taxpayer argues that taxes shouldn’t be based on assessed home values

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

Man clings to roof of car driving along busy road in Maple Ridge

The man was also seen jumping on the vehicle

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Most Read