Home prices and sales across B.C. to recover in 2020

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empty homes tax / new home sales / B.C. home prices
The tax is at a rate one per cent of a property’s assessed taxable valuable. The goal of the tax is to motivate homeowners to rent out homes they don’t live in full time. Vancouver’s current vacancy rate sits at .8 per cent. Photo Dan Toulgoet

With the decline of the average B.C. home sale price seeming to flatten out in the latest monthly figures, the B.C. Real Estate Association is now forecasting that the average sale price over the year will be $697,000, down 2.2 per cent compared with 2018.

As consumer demand recovers, the average sale price of a home across the province will then rise 4.2 per cent year over year in 2020, to $726,000, the association predicted June 18.

At 71,400 units, total home sales across B.C. are expected to be nine per cent lower in 2019 than in 2018, but are forecast to more than recover that amount in 2020. BCREA predicted there will be 81,400 sales in 2020, a year-over-year rise of 14.4 per cent.

However, this would still be below the 10-year average for MLS residential sales in the province, which is 84,300 sales per year – and far below the 100,000-plus sales seen in the recent market boom of 2015 and 2016.

B.C. home prices
Source: BCREA Economics

Cameron Muir, BCREA chief economist, said, “The shock to affordability from restrictive mortgage policies, especially the B20 stress test, will continue to limit housing demand in the province this year. However, a relatively strong economy and favourable demographics are likely creating pent-up demand in the housing market.”

Sales are predicted to rise in all 12 of B.C.’s real estate board areas in 2020, with Greater Vancouver – having seen the steepest declines – expected to see the largest recovery, with transactions forecast to jump 25.3 per cent in 2020 compared with 2019.

However, price changes tend to lag sales trends. All but one of the board areas are expected to see prices rise next year, but Victoria and Greater Vancouver’s forecast price recoveries are meagre at 0.3 and 0.5 per cent respectively. Chilliwack is the outlier, with its four per cent average price rises in 2019 giving way to a slight decline in 2020.

B.C. home prices
Source: BCREA Economics