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Home sales sluggish in Langley despite spring uptick

More homes are being listed and sold, but transactions well below seasonal norms
Real estate sales are rising in Langley, but many homeowners are still reluctant to list and move, says a local realtor. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

Home sales picked up in Langley and around the Fraser Valley in March, but many potential home sellers are staying put, keeping supply limited.

According to the March data from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, sales and new listings both rose in March compared to February, but both also stayed well below the 10-year rolling average for the month.

Regionally, sales were 31 per cent below average in March, the second-lowest for the month in the last decade.

Meanwhile, new listings were up seven per cent, but still 12 per cent below the 10-year average.

Although inventory of homes for sale is growing, the sales-to-active listings ratio was 23 per cent, which is considered to be a sellers market.

That fits with what Langley realtor Dave Robles is seeing. After years of a market defined by first-time homebuyers, Robles said that it’s downsizers – or a lack of them – that are driving the current market.

“Right now we are seeing multiple offers on pretty much everything,” he said, but he added that those offers are not the hundreds of thousands of dollars over the listed price that were seen during the frenzy of the COVID-19 years.

But many people are sitting on the sidelines, considering moving but not actually listing their homes.

“A lot of our market is downsizers,” he said, referring to empty-nesters who are approaching or in retirement. “And there is nothing for them.”

There aren’t enough condos, townhouses, and 55-plus communities that downsizers would like to purchase to absorb all of the people considering moving out of their homes. So they’re sticking with what they have, at least for now.

“I’m actually doing downsizing seminars,” Robles said.

The unpredictable market has left people cautious.

The only thing that could shake things loose is a drop in variable interest rates, Robles said. The Bank of Canada is expected to begin bringing interest rates down this year, but most forecasts believe it won’t happen before June.

In Langley, housing prices were up in March, but sales were still sluggish.

READ MORE: Langley real estate bounces back, but sales still below long-term trends

There were 86 detached houses sold in March, 19.6 per cent fewer than the 107 that changed hands in the same month last year.

A total of 91 townhouses sold, 10.8 per cent fewer than in March 2023, and 100 condos sold, a full 26.5 per cent less than a year ago.

The lower sales were despite the fact that all three categories saw increases in the number of homes listed for sale. There were 314 detached houses, 154 townhouses, and 286 condos listed for sale, each category significantly higher than the same month a year ago.

The benchmark price for a detached house in March was $1.62 million, up nine per cent year-over-year. Townhouses were going for $851,900, a 7.6 per cent increase, and condos for $623,400, up 10.4 per cent. All those numbers were up slightly over February’s benchmarks as well.

The benchmark sale price is the average price for a “typical” home of its type in Langley.

Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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