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Real estate saw varied gains in 2011

Relative change in Greater Vancouver real estate prices for benchmark homes over the past five years. Blue line shows detached houses, red is attached homes, green shows condos.  - Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver
Relative change in Greater Vancouver real estate prices for benchmark homes over the past five years. Blue line shows detached houses, red is attached homes, green shows condos.
— image credit: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver

Housing prices slumped in the second half of 2011, but real estate markets in the Lower Mainland ended up for the year overall.

The gain was bigger in the western half of the region, with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reporting detached houses typically rose 11.2 per cent for the year to $887,000.

The hottest gain was a 34 per cent jump in Port Moody, where the Evergreen Line is now assured to pass through after funding for the SkyTrain extension was secured in recent months.

Houses on the west side of Vancouver also gained 20 per cent, while the east side, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby and South Delta all saw benchmark houses gain 13 to 16 per cent.

Attached homes and condos gained more modestly, up roughly four per cent on average.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), which covers Surrey, White Rock and North Delta, reported benchmark houses gained 3.3 per cent in 2011 to $523,000.

Townhouses and condos dipped, however, declining 2.1 per cent (to $315,000) and 1.2 per cent (to $237,000) respectively.

"One trend from 2011 that is clear was the preference for single family homes," FVREB president Sukh Sidhu said. "For the most part in our region, both sales and prices of townhomes and condos either stayed on par with 2010 or decreased."

The hottest area was White Rock and South Surrey, where sales were strong and prices of benchmark detached houses climbed 10.8 per cent to $818,000.

The most expensive cities in which to buy across the Lower Mainland remained the west side of Vancouver with benchmark detached houses nearing the $2 million level, West Vancouver houses at nearly $1.7 million and Richmond, at $1.07 million.

Benchmark houses can still be found for under $600,000 in areas like Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, North Delta, Surrey, Port Coquitlam and Langley in Metro Vancouver. In the Fraser Valley, equivalent prices are $424,000 in Abbotsford and $344,000 in Mission.

The Greater Vancouver statistics show the average residential property bought five years ago has gained almost 30 per cent since then.

Detached houses performed slightly better (up 38 per cent) than condos or townhouses (both up just over 20 per cent) over the five years.

Median prices of detached houses in the Fraser Valley are up 26 per cent over five years.

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