British Columbia will see Canada’s biggest increase in home sales activity by far in 2015, as oil-dependent provinces decline, according to an updated housing forecast released by the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) March 13.
BC is projected to see an annual increase in home sales activity of 4.9 per cent, followed by Nova Scotia (+3.7 per cent), Quebec (+2.5 per cent), New Brunswick (+2.5 per cent) and Ontario (+1.9 per cent). These numbers are all higher than CREA’s previous forecast.
On the flip side, Alberta is expected to post the largest year-over-year drop in sales this year, with the CREA projecting a fall of 19.2 per cent, although it predicts most of that will occur in the early part of the year and improve as consumer confidence recovers. Sales are also forecast to decline in Saskatchewan (-11.2 per cent) and Manitoba (-1.3 per cent).
The national average home price is now forecast to rise by 2 per cent to $416,200 in 2015. Only British Columbia (+3.4 per cent) and Ontario (+2.5 per cent) are forecast to see gains above the national average.
The CREA also reported that home sales in February across the country were up just 2 per cent compared with January, led by Greater Vancouver, which saw a massive 60 per cent month-over-month leap, and the Okanagan.
The CREA’s reports come on the same day that RBC Economics issued an outlook forecasting that the BC economy in 2015 would see its fastest rate of growth since emerging from the 2008/09 recession, including an improvement in the province’s export sectors due to the weaker dollar.
RBC added that it anticipated a reduction in migration to oil-rich provinces and a boost in overall population to support the “ongoing, robust housing market activity, as home sales in 2007 are set to reach their strongest level since 2007”.