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Jump in December home sales pushes real estate prices up

VANCOUVER - A rush of housing sales in the second half of 2009 pushed Metro Vancouver's real estate market dramatically higher than financial-crisis-plagued 2008.

 

The area of Metro covered by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver recorded 35,669 sales through the realtor-controlled Multiple Listing Service in 2009, a 45-per-cent increase from 2008.

 

And the benchmark price, an average price for the typical property sold, hit $562,463 in December, up some 16 per cent from December 2008, a period when prices had fallen considerably from their peak.

 

“Home sales neared or passed monthly records in Greater Vancouver throughout the latter half of 2009,” board president Scott Russell said in a news release. “In fact, last month's home sales rank as the third highest selling December in the 90-year history of our organization.”

 

December saw 2,515 MLS sales in the Greater Vancouver board area, which includes most of Metro Vancouver except for Surrey.

 

Russell credited low mortgage rates along with the city's emergence from recession and renewed consumer confidence for the resurgence in sales, which forecasters have predicted will level out in 2010.

 

However, as the number of sales has risen, Russell said the inventory of unsold homes has shrunk.

 

The Vancouver board's inventory of 8,939 active listings is some 41 per cent lower than the number of unsold homes on the market in December of 2008, and is even 19 per cent lower than the previous month.

 

“The number of homes listed for sale on our MLS has been in decline in Greater Vancouver for eight of the last nine months, which results in upward pressure on home prices,” Russell added.

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