Sizzling summer for suburban Vancouver condo market

It was the second-hottest August on record for the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board as sales jumped 12.9 per cent from previous year, to 1,704 units.

In the latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, August sales numbers were pushed above average levels due to a sustained demand for condos and townhomes in the region. The August gains were largely fuelled by the South Surrey/White Rock area, where condo sales spiked 46.4 per cent and townhome sales jumped 72 per cent.

Sales in the month were 19.6% higher than the 10-year average for August.

The board had previously observed strong demand for condos and townhomes due to first-time buyers and longtime homeowners competing for the same type of property.

Under the program launched in mid-January, the province will match down payments of up to $37,500 made by first-time buyers purchasing any home priced up to $750,000.

But a year later it appears that the housing market is almost as hot as the weather.

Prices for apartment-style condos averaged $628,800 last month, an increase of 19.4 per cent from a year earlier and 1.7 per cent compared to July.

Although detached home sales have eased since reaching record highs a year ago, the benchmark price of a single-family home continues to rise modestly.

Benchmark prices increased sharply last month compared with Augus, t 2016, especially for suburban condos: $252,000 in Maple Ridge (up 25.8 per cent) and $373,600 (up 24.8 per cent) in Pitt Meadows.

Oudil said detached home prices are not experiencing as much upward pressure as competition isn't as intense as in the markets for attached properties. "You also have local investors who made money in detached homes and they are drawing equity out of their existing properties to buy secondary investments", he said in an interview on Tuesday.

"This means there's less upward pressure on prices and that buyers have more selection to choose from and more time to make their decisions", said Oudil.

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