BC Housing Market Stabilizing

May 26, 2009

Balanced markets emerging in Victoria, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

Vancouver, BC – May 26, 2009. As part of its Spring 2009 Housing Forecast, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reported today that housing market conditions have improved more rapidly than expected. As a result, BCREA has revised its home price forecast upwards, reflecting greater price stability through the balance of the year. The average Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential price in British Columbia is forecast to decline eight per cent to $420,600 in 2009, instead of 13 per cent originally forecasted at the beginning of the year.

“The majority of the decline in home prices has already occurred,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Balanced markets are emerging in Victoria, Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. There’s now little downward pressure on home prices in these areas.”

Home sales in the province have climbed out of a trough, posting double-digit percentage gains for three consecutive months (seasonally adjusted).

BC MLS® residential sales are forecast to decline 12 per cent to 60,755 units this year, as a result of a weak first quarter. However, stronger consumer demand is expected to continue for the balance of the year and through 2010. Residential sales in 2010 are forecast to climb 10 percent to 66,740 units.

Affordability reached a three-year high in April with lower home prices and record low interest rates reducing the carrying cost of the average priced home 24 per cent over the last year.

“A significant increase in affordability has brought many first-time buyers into the market,” added Muir. “First-time buyers were largely absent in the late fall and winter, making it more difficult for move-up buyers to sell their current homes. The chain of ownership is now being oiled.”