British Columbia Real Estate Association
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in British Columbia are forecast to edge back 4 per cent to 73,400 units in 2012. The decline is almost entirely the result of a 15 per cent decline in unit sales in Vancouver. However, tepid consumer demand in Vancouver is expected to be short-lived as strong full-time employment growth in the first half of the year, combined with persistently low mortgage interest rates, boost consumer confidence and unit sales in 2013. MLS® residential sales are forecast to climb 7.5 per cent to 78,900 units next year.
Consumer demand has strengthened in the interior and northern markets, with MLS® residential sales forecast to increase 15 per cent in both the Okanagan Mainline and BC Northern board areas this year. Kamloops and South Okanagan are also expected to post stronger unit sales. Broad-based economic recovery and investment in major projects are driving home sales higher in many BC regions.
The supply of homes for sale is sufficient to meet demand in most BC regions, with many markets tilted in favour of buyers. Overall, home prices are expected to remain relatively stable in 2012 and through 2013, with changes in average price statistics largely the result of a differing mix of home types sold and shifting regional demand patterns. Average price data for Vancouver was skewed artificially high in 2011 by a wave of detached home sales in the priciest neighbourhoods. The anomaly isn’t being repeated this year, with average residential price statistics reflecting more typical regional mix and product share patterns. In addition, the Lower Mainland’s share of provincial home sales is expected to decline to 58 per cent this year from 62 per cent in 2011.
BC housing starts are forecast to increase 1.5 per cent to 26,800 units this year. After climbing significantly in 2011, multiple starts are forecast to rise 2 per cent to 17,900 units this year and a further 3 per cent to 18,500 units in 2013. Moderating consumer demand in Vancouver during 2012 will limit the expansion of the housing stock through 2013 as builders and developers pay close attention to inventory levels.
Copyright© British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.