VANCOUVER - The number of homes sold in the Vancouver area was down 29.4 per cent last month compared with February last year, continuing a trend of below-average activity and declining prices.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says there were 1,797 residential properties sold last month through its members — 30.9 per cent below the 10-year average for February sales.

Vancouver has Canada's most expensive real-estate market but the industry's home price index shows a 5.6 per cent decline since the market peaked and a 3.3 per cent decline from February 2012.

The benchmark price for all types of Vancouver area residential properties stood at $590,400 in February, down from the peak of $625,100 in May.

The number of transactions have been below 10-year averages each month for more than a year although the real-estate board says there's a ray of hope because of increased interest by prospective buyers last month.

The increased number of transactions in February was up slightly from the 1,351 sales in January. The ratio of sales to active listings also improved to 12.2 per cent, the first time it has been above 11 per cent since June 2012.

“Sales in February followed recent trends and were below seasonal averages, though our members tell us they saw more traffic at open houses last month compared to the previous six to eight months, said Eugen Klein, REBGV president.

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