B.C. Market Heads Toward Equilibrium
This article appeared on the Canadian Real Estate Magazine on December 14th, 2011.
The B.C. real estate market may finally have reached the equilibrium investors and others have long hoped for, with Multiple Listing sales in November falling only marginally from the previous year and price growth restricting itself to a 1 per cent gain.
“After waning during the first half of the year, consumer demand has steadily increased since the summer months, bringing home sales within seven units of the November 2010 level,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist for the The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). “BC home sales continued to gain ground in November.”
A total of 5,640 units were sold last month compared to 5,647 units in November 2010. The average MLS residential price was up 1.1 per cent to $529,140 in November compared to the same month last year.
“Low mortgage interest rates remain a key driver in the housing market, helping to maintain affordability and purchasing power,” said Muir.
But affordability on B.C.’s Lower Mainland — or rather the lack of it — has worried local investors trying to make acquisitions in markets they have inreasingly found themselves shut out of this year.
That rapid value growth continues to moderate, with a falling number of buyers able or willing to purchase at prices in some cases more than 30 per cent higher than their 2010 numbers.
Year-to-date, the dollar volume for B.C. residential sales increased 15.5 per cent to $41 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales increased 3.2 per cent to 72,632 units, and the average residential price rose 11.9 per cent to $563,991 over the same period.