VANCOUVER -- The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says home sales across Metro Vancouver were more "historically normal" in 2017, although the number of transactions was still the third highest in the past decade.

Sales of detached homes, townhomes and apartments in Metro Vancouver reached 35,993 in 2017, off 9.9 per cent compared with 2016 and down 15 per cent from 2015's sizzling pace.

The benchmark price for all residential properties was $1,050,300, a 15.9 per cent jump compared with December 2016.

A key aspect of last year's housing market was a marked decline in the number of available listings, a trend the board has said can put upward pressure on home prices.

Board president Jill Oudill says 54,655 properties were listed for sale in 2017, a dip of 5.1 per cent from the year earlier.

"Metro Vancouver home sales were the third highest we've seen in the past ten years while the home listings total was the second lowest on record for the same period," Oudill says in a news release.

She also says market activity across the Vancouver region differed considerably in 2017 based on property type.

"Competition was intense in the condominium and townhome markets, with multiple offer situations becoming commonplace," says Oudill, noting the market for detached homes was more balanced, giving buyers more selection and more time to make decisions.

The real estate board says the benchmark price of condominiums leaped 25.9 per cent in Metro Vancouver last year, while townhomes increased 18.5 per cent and the price for detached homes climbed 7.9 per cent.

Looking ahead to 2018, Oudill says only time will tell how the market will react to several significant regulatory changes, and she urged home buyers to obtain pre-approval before making any offer.

"Realtors are working with their clients to help them understand how changing interest rates and the federal government's new mortgage qualifications could affect their purchasing power," she says.