July home sales in Vancouver, once the country's hottest real estate market, continued to slide and hit their lowest total for the month since 2000.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported Thursday 2,098 properties sold in the month, down 18.4 per cent from 2,571 in July, 2011, and down 11.2 per cent from June's mark of 2,362, which was also the lowest total for that month since 2000.
Despite the sharp drop in the number of homes sold, the board says the MLS home price index composite benchmark price was $616,000, up 0.6 per cent from a year ago, but down 0.7 per cent from June.
"People appear to be cautious about making significant financial decisions right now," board president Eugen Klein said in a statement.
"While our local economy appears to be quite robust, there may be some concern about the impact of international markets and the federal government's tightening of mortgage regulations."
The total number of active residential property listings on the MLS system was 18,081, up 18.8 per cent from a year ago, but down 2.2 per cent compared with a month ago.
The board says with a sales-to-active-listing ratio of 11.6 per cent, conditions have favoured buyers in the market in recent months.
"That means buyers have more selection to choose from and more time to make a decision," Mr. Klein said.
Sales of detached properties on MLS in July totalled 787, down 28.4 per cent from the 1,099 sales a year ago, while sales of apartment properties amounted to 927, down 10.9 per cent from 1,040 sales in July, 2011.
Attached property sales in July totalled 384, down 11.1 per cent from 432.
The slow down comes as Ottawa tightens mortgage lending in Canada.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty moved in June to cool the red hot condo markets in Toronto and Vancouver by tightening the rules for borrowers including cutting the maximum amortization period for government insured mortgages cut to 25 years from 30.
As well, the federal regulator of financial institutions has told lenders they can only issue home equity loans up to a maximum of 65 per cent of the property's value, down from the previous 80 per cent.