Biggest investment drop is forecast to happen this year. (Central 1 Credit Union)

B.C. housing slump has begun to slow economy, credit union economists say

Central 1 not predicting recession, but ‘sharp contraction’ in construction

Government moves to put the brakes on B.C.’s urban housing costs are taking hold and are about to produce the biggest drop in residential construction since 2009, Central 1 Credit Union says in its latest forecast.

The drop in housing investment is projected to be nearly as large as the world-wide recession of 2009, but will not signal a recession in B.C. because of strength in other construction sectors, says B.C. Economic Outlook 2019-2021, a forecast by the organization representing credit unions in B.C. and Ontario.

Increasing population, new capital investment in public works and the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C. are expected to keep unemployment low as housing construction slows, Central 1 forecasts.

“B.C.’s economy will slow over the next three years as the policy-induced housing market downturn weighs temporarily on growth,” the report says.

“The recent slump in housing demand and prices will trigger a sharp contraction in housing construction and the most pronounced drop in broader residential investment since 2009. Growth will trend in a range of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent over the next years and accelerate to 2.8 per cent in 2021.”

The federal government’s addition of a “stress test” for bank mortgages in 2018 has required borrowers to qualify their ability to pay if interest rates increase, after a long period of low rates led to personal debt rates rising. B.C. has focused on increased taxes for foreign buyers and second homes in urban areas that have low rental vacancy rates and high purchase prices.

READ MORE: Deadline looms to register to avoid speculation tax

READ MORE: Drop in fixed mortgage rates a ‘welcome cooling’

“Retrenchment has been significant in larger urban markets, which will curtail new home activity in 2019,” the report states. “Home sales have fallen to a multi-year low pace.”

Central 1 expects that B.C. exports will be a drag on growth, with the continued trade dispute between the U.S. and China and a general trend to trade protectionism internationally.

Retail sales rose “a mere two per cent last year following a 9.3 per cent increase in 2017 and 6.6 per cent gain in 2016, despite support from rising wages, solid labour market and population growth,” Central 1 says.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

South Surrey senior says violent bike crash was a ‘blessing in disguise’

Six people stopped to help Dave Rogers after he crashed his bike and broke his collarbone

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

Public hearing planned for Campbell Heights development

Project to see the removal of more than 500 trees

City of White Rock tells residents to keep distance from pier project

Residents and tourists are asked to stay at least 100 metres away from barge

White Rock students deliver donation to low-income families

Seniors, kids and more to benefit from Peace Arch Elementary students’ efforts

Police say it’s “impressive” no arrests were made after Raptors celebrations

Toronto will play the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next

Semis catch fire at wrecker off Highway 1 in west Abbotsford

Crews called to scene at around 2 p.m., finding up to six semis that had caught fire at the wrecker

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read