House for sale

House prices keep rising, but few homeowners want to sell

Benchmark price of an Abbotsford house now over $800,000

Efforts by the province to drive the cost of housing down have yet to have an effect on home prices in Abbotsford.

The benchmark price of a typical Abbotsford house pushed past the $800,000 mark in February, according to the latest Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) figures. That’s up 19 per cent from last year and nearly $20,000 from January.

Townhouse and apartment prices have been rising even faster.

The “typical” townhome now goes for $371,600, up 25 per cent from last year. The typical apartment now fetches $315,900, up 41.3 per cent.

In Mission, the benchmark price for a house is $653,500. The townhouse benchmark price is $433,400, while the apartment benchmark is $315,400.

Those increases mirror increases across the Fraser Valley. The benchmark price of a typical home in the FVREB region – which stretches from White Rock to Abbotsford – is now just shy of $1 million, at $992,100.

Despite the sky-high prices, the FVREB says too few people want to sell their homes.

“We continue to see demand capped off due to an inadequate amount of supply,” said FVREB board president John Barbisan in a press release. “March is typically when we see our market kick into gear, but we need to see higher levels of new listings coming in and greater overall inventory if we want more homebuyers to find success in the Valley.”

The number of homes for sale rose from February, but is down from this point last year.

Barbisson said housing doesn’t function like a commodity, so increasing prices don’t always spur owners to sell. And inventory remains low partly because houses are selling so fast.

“There’s no chance of replishining it quick enough,” he said. Barbisson suggested demand by Vancouverites is driving many sales in the Fraser Valley.

“In the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board [area], almost 1/3 of all agents done by agents out of Vancouver,” he said.

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