House prices to keep rising

Friday, April 27th, 2007

But balance returning to market

Ashley Ford

B.C. house prices will continue to rise and potential homeowners are finding themselves at the wrong end of an affordability squeeze, the B.C. Real Estate Association said yesterday in its first-ever housing forecast.

While it makes gloomy reading for those trying to break into the market, Cameron Muir, the association’s chief economist, said “a more balanced market is emerging in the aftermath of less frenetic buying activity and an increase in residential listings.”

Though double-digit price increases will force sales down slightly this year, there is no end in sight to rising prices.

“The shift in housing market conditions is not a signal of an impending collapse. Rather, it is a gradual return to a balanced market,” he said.

There will be little relief across the Lower Mainland, where home prices are expected to rise seven per cent this year and by the same margin in 2008.

“The Lower-Mainland economy is in the midst of a robust growth phase. More than $47-billion worth of major projects are either under construction or proposed for the region,” Muir said.

Greater Vancouver housing starts are expected to dip this year to 18,300 from last year’s 18,705 and will again fall next year to 17,900.

A bit of good news for buyers is that increases are expected to stay in single digits provincewide this year and next compared to the average 18-per-cent increase experienced last year.

This year, the average B.C. residential price is forecast to increase eight per cent to $422,000, and a further seven per cent to $450,000 in 2008 due to a “robust” labour demand.

B.C. home sales are projected to dip three per cent to 93,600 units this year and fall another four per cent to 89,500 units in 2008. Housing starts are forecast to dip seven per cent to 33,900 units this year and a further six per cent to 32,000 units in 2008.

© The Vancouver Province 2007


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