B.C.’s largest cities saw the price of new housing decrease this spring, despite a continued rise in land values, the latest figures from Statistics Canada show.
Victoria saw the largest decrease among metropolitan areas in May, down 1.4 per cent from the same period in 2018. Victoria’s housing price fell 2.3 per cent, offset by a 0.7 per cent increase in land value in the same period.
The Vancouver census metropolitan area saw a 1.8 per cent decrease in house cost as land prices rose 0.4 per cent, for a net decrease of 0.9 per cent to average market prices. Kelowna’s metropolitan area recorded a one per cent decrease in house costs and a 0.3 per cent increase in land cost, for a 0.7 per cent decline during the 12-month period ended in May.
The B.C. government has been attempting to rein in the high cost of housing, with a speculation and empty homes tax on urban centres with low rental vacancy rates. It reported last week that 12,000 property owners are currently expected to pay the new property tax, and more than half are foreign owners or “satellite families” of main income earners who live outside Canada.
Across Canada, housing prices declined in 11 of 27 metropolitan areas as of May. Prices also fell in Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary, and rose in Ottawa, London and Montreal. The survey counts detached, semi-detached and townhomes.