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Pre-Spring 2012 real estate push adds listings, increases sales

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) recorded 1,269 sales in February, an increase of 59 per cent compared to January and a 1 per cent decrease compared to the 1,279 sales during February of last year.

In terms of new listings, the Board received 2,846 in February, an increase of 3 per cent compared to January and a 6 per cent decrease compared to the 3,038 listings received last February, taking the total number of active listings to 9,037, an increase of 4 per cent compared to those available in February 2011.

As Board President Scott Olson explains, a seasonal increase in sales is typical for February; however this increase was not as robust as in years past. February’s sales finished at 4 per cent fewer than the 10-year average for that month.

“Although our market has picked up, it’s still favouring buyers. In terms of our clients, we’re seeing more caution and deliberation when house hunting.

“This could mean using a home inspection as part of negotiations, or asking for extras to be thrown in, or the client walking away if terms are not met. The other side is that selection at certain price points is limited depending on location, so if the buyer finds the right home, they act, which is keeping prices stable.”

The MLS® HPI benchmark price of a ‘typical’ detached home in Fraser Valley in February was, $569,200, an increase of 8.3 per cent compared to $525,400 last year. The benchmark price of Fraser Valley townhouses increased by 2.0 per cent in one year, going from $305,700 in February 2011 to $311,900 in February 2012, while the benchmark price of apartments increased by 0.6 per cent going from $200,200 in February of last year to $201,500 in February 2012.

Olson adds, “We anticipate the new HST transition rules will generate more buying activity of new homes over the coming months and will have a spill-over effect on the resale market. The majority of new homes in the Fraser Valley fall under the new $850,000 HST rebate threshold and first-time buyers will be taking advantage of the refundable tax credit bonus of up to $10,000 available until March 31, 2013.

“These changes will improve accessibility in the Fraser Valley, a region already recognized for its affordability.”

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