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

A police pursuit ended with an arrest in Williams Lake on Highway 97 Sunday afternoon. (Facebook video screenshot)
Video catches police pursuit that ends with man kicked, punched in Williams Lake

A video of the arrest is getting widely shared on social media

Quesnel was hit with unseasonably October snowfall earlier this week. More is on the way on Sunday, Oct. 25 and Monday, Oct. 26, and Quesnel and North Cariboo are under a winter storm warning. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
“Hazardous” weather expected for Quesnel: Environment Canada

10-20 cm of snow and freezing rain are expected to start Sunday night

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read