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A for sale sign outside townhouses in the Fairview neighbourhood of Vancouver on Monday, March 4, 2013.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Sales of existing homes in Greater Vancouver fell 6.1 per cent in April compared to a year ago, but were up 11.9 per cent from March's level, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Thursday.

The number of homes that changed hands over the Multiple Listing Service this April was the lowest in the region since 2001.

"While the number of home sales remains below average, properties that are priced right are selling and we're seeing greater balance between buyer demand and the number of homes listed for sale," Sandra Wyant, president of the local real estate board, said in a press release. "This is having a steadying influence on home prices in the region."

The MLS Home Price Index benchmark price for all types of homes in the area is $597,300, down 3.9 per cent from the same time last year but up 1.6 per cent from January.

"There have been modest increases in home prices across the region over the last three months," Ms. Wyant stated. "This comes on the heels of home price declines of approximately five to six per cent in Greater Vancouver during the last half of 2012."

The number of homes changing hands was 2,627 in April, compared to 2,799 in April 2012 and 2,347 this March.

Meanwhile the number of homes that were newly listed in April totalled 5,876, down 3 per cent from a year ago and up 21.4 per cent from this March.

In total there are more than 16,700 properties for sale on the MLS in Greater Vancouver.