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Buyers, sellers sit on sidelines to end 2012

Fewer homes may be changing hands, and the Lower Mainland real estate market may be continuing to cool, but homeowners aren’t budging much when it comes to their asking prices.

According to the latest figures from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, prices held firm for the most part for 2012, as home buyers and sellers sat on the sidelines.

“For much of 2012, we saw a collective hesitation on the part of buyers and sellers in the Greater Vancouver housing market,” said board president Eugen Klein. “This behaviour was reflected in lower than average home sale activity and modest fluctuations in home prices.”

Fewer Richmond condos, townhomes and single detached houses sold in December compared to November as well as a year ago. While month-over-month prices held firm, the median selling prices of condos and townhomes also remained about the same compared to a year ago.

Just 44 houses sold last month, down 42 per cent compared to November, and a drop of 29 per cent compared to December of 2011. The number of condos sold fell 33 per cent in December compared to November, and dropped 28 per cent compared to a year ago.

Since reaching a peak in May of this year, the MLS Home Price Index benchmark price of a Greater Vancouver home dropped from $625,100 to $590,800, a 5.8-per-cent decline.

“We saw home prices come down a bit during the latter half of the year,” Klein said. “During that same period, we saw fewer home sales and listings.”

For the year, the number of real estate transactions in the Greater Vancouver area dropped 22.7 per cent, from 32,387 in 2011 to 25,032.

And last year’s numbers were 25.7 per cent below the 10-year average for annual sales in the region

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