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Vancouver home sales fall 33% in September, most in six years

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Vancouver home sales fell 33 per cent in September, the most since 2010, adding to evidence measures taken by the provincial government to curb price gains are working.

[OTTAWA] Vancouver home sales fell 33 per cent in September, the most since 2010, adding to evidence measures taken by the provincial government to curb price gains are working.

Sales in the Pacific coast city dropped to 2,253 in the month, from 3,345 a year earlier, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Tuesday. It was the largest decrease since 2010, and comes after British Columbia imposed a 15 per cent tax, which took effect in August, on purchases by foreigners.

With Vancouver among global cities most at risk of a housing bubble, according to UBS Group AG, authorities are taking steps to slow the pace of gains. The federal government unveiled new rules on Monday to close a loophole that gave some non-residents a tax break when they sold a home. The changes also tighten mortgage insurance eligibility requirements even for borrowers with large down payments. That follows British Columbia's new foreign-buyer levy, as well as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson's plan for the city to start taxing vacant homes next year.

Sales were also down 9.5 per cent on the month, the real estate board said, adding the level dipped below the 10-year monthly average for September for the first time since May 2014.

The benchmark price for a detached property in Vancouver rose 34 per cent in September from the same month last year to C$1.58 million (S$1.6 million). Prices for all residential properties in metro Vancouver climbed to C$931,900, a 29 per cent increase on the year and a 0.1 per cent drop from the prior month.

BLOOMBERG