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Land sales dominate Lower Mainland property markets

By Frank O'Brien for Business in Vancouver

A Fraser Valley land rush that has driven prices up three fold in the last two years has helped make land the dominant real estate investment in the Lower Mainland.

In the first quarter of this year, land accounted for 56.8% of all the property transactions in the Lower Mainland, according to the Altus Group, with sales of residential development land alone worth more than $1.1 billion. Sales of non-residential land, primarily for industrial, tallied another $530 million in the three-month period.

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But, as reflected in slumping housing sales, residential land sales in the Lower Mainland were down 46% from the fourth quarter of 2017 and down 21% from the white-hot pace in the first quarter of last year.

Fraser Valley home sales plunged 43.5% in June compared with the same month a year earlier and were down 17.4% from May of this year, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

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