A condo building is seen under construction surrounded by houses in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 30, 2018. Housing sales in British Columbia are climbing faster than anticipated after a downturn, but a rebound won’t be as inflamed as the sellers’ market two years ago, says a report released Monday by Central 1 Credit Union. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Growing population, declining mortgage rates speed up B.C. housing recovery

The average value of a home in B.C. dropped 2.4 per cent in 2019 to $522,000

Housing sales in British Columbia are climbing faster than anticipated after a downturn, but a rebound won’t be as inflamed as the sellers’ market two years ago, says a report released Monday by Central 1 Credit Union.

Declines in home prices, falling mortgage rates, a population increase and continued economic growth have prompted buyers to return to the market, especially in Metro Vancouver, said Bryan Yu, Central 1’s deputy chief economist.

His outlook report on B.C.’s resale market for 2019 to 2021 forecasts a seven per cent decline in B.C. housing resales this year, followed by an increase of 13 per cent in 2020 and a further four per cent jump in 2021, which amounts to an estimated 85,475 unit sales in 2021.

“The overall demand environment or sales environment has picked up quite significantly and what we’re seeing now is that stabilization in the pricing and some upward momentum building as markets are tightening right now throughout the province,” he said in an interview.

But a return to 2017 market levels where resales came close to 100,000 units is not anticipated, Yu said.

He said sales declines that started in 2018 and continued well into 2019 were largely driven by the federal government’s mortgage stress test for home buyers and the B.C. government’s foreign buyers and speculation taxes launched to increase the number of homes available for rent or sale in B.C.’s urban areas.

“The overall sales are still below late 2017 and early 2018 numbers,” said Yu. “But we have seen the mortgage rates drop anywhere up to 80 basis points. You can get a mortgage now for around 2.5 per cent for five years where a year ago you would be paying somewhere above three per cent.”

He said the average value of a home in B.C. dropped 2.4 per cent in 2019 to $522,000, but that same home value is expected to increase 3.8 per cent next year and by another four per cent in 2021.

Yu said the median home price in Metro Vancouver dropped about 10 per cent from last year and is currently at about $690,000. In Victoria, the median home price is $600,000.

He said the rental vacancy rate in most B.C. urban centres remains tight at slightly more than one per cent, while rents are expected to increase by 4.5 per cent for tenants looking for new homes.

The B.C. government’s most recent financial quarterly report released in September said home sales decreased by more than 16 per cent from January to July 2019 compared with the same period in 2018.

The government’s report said Metro Vancouver home sales from January to July 2019 fell 21.5 per cent compared to the first seven months of 2018.

Yu said the coming months will see the resale market rebuild but double-digit price increases are not expected.

“I don’t think there’s a lot of downside for this,” he said. “As we see the migration flows coming in, the population growth numbers and the tight labour market, those (factors) should be enough to provide some stimulus. It’s not going to be heading to the level you saw pre-stress test, but prices are on the rise again in our view.”

ALSO READ: Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

ALSO READ: It could take you 218 years to save up for a house in this B.C. neighbourhood

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘We want to help’: As overdose deaths spike, beds lay empty at long-term Surrey rehab centre

John Volken Academy searching for ‘students’ to enlist in two-year residential treatment program

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

PHOTOS: B.C. Day long weekend on White Rock beach

Hundreds of families gathered at the beach Sunday

Seeds of Change Surrey to launch two new programs

United Way of the Lower Mainland donated $77,000

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Wildfire breaks out near Harrison Hot Springs

1.5 hectare fire is reportedly human caused

Police lay out details of mental health response in Abbotsford over long weekend

APD officers assist mental health team for three hours yesterday, man sent to hospital with injury

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Fraser Valley Bandits clinch playoff spot with win

Bandits down Niagara River Lions 70-57 on Sunday, improve to 3-2

Most Read