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 per cent 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.
But, as reflected in slumping housing sales, residential land sales in the Lower Mainland were down 46 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017 and down 21 per cent from the white-hot pace in the first quarter of last year.
Fraser Valley home sales plunged 43.5 per cent in June compared with the same month a year earlier and were down 17.4 per cent from May of this year, according to the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
Sales of non-residential land also cooled in the first three months of this year, dropping 15 per cent from the fourth quarter of 2017 and 9 per cent below the first quarter of 2017.
Yet, with land sales averaging nearly $500 million a month so far this year, any talk of a downturn appears premature, especially in the Fraser Valley.