B.C. sales for 2007 will tip over the 101,000 mark

Friday, September 28th, 2007

Nothing but blue skies

Ashley Ford

A solid job market draws people west and they all need someplace to live, says Royal LePage

If you are in the B.C. housing industry, there isn’t a cloud to be seen on the far horizon.

The B.C. Real Estate Association revealed yesterday that more than 100,000 homes will be sold through the multiple listing service this year, only the second time in history that has happened.

Sales will tip over the 101,000 mark, but not match the record set in 2005, when 106,310 homes changed hands. The 10-year average is just under 78,000 units.

“Exceptionally strong consumer demand over the summer months has changed the outlook for this year from declining home sales to the second highest on record,” said Cameron Muir, the association’s chief economist.

“While eroding affordability is squeezing some potential buyers out of the market, the housing stock is increasingly diverse, providing a mix of home types that appeal to a wide consumer market,” he said.

Royal LePage weighed in with its own numbers yesterday, showing third-quarter sales were stronger than expected in Vancouver and Victoria. It’s all down to a vibrant, diversified economy, the real-estate company said.

That, in turn, has created a very solid job market that continues to draw people west and they all need somewhere to live, the company said.

Prices continue to rise but there appears to be little “sticker shock” and there are plenty of first-time buyers in the market.

The average residential price in B.C. will climb 12 per cent to $437,000 this year, but Muir said he thinks there may be some price relief next year.

“While home prices continue to face upward pressure, the rate of growth is expected to moderate,” he said.

The B.C. average price increased 18 per cent between 2006 and 2007 and is forecast to rise at a more modest eight per cent between this year and next.

While housing starts are forecast to decline seven per cent to 33,900 units this year — and another four per cent to 33,000 units in 2008 — multiple starts, the most popular housing product, will hold firm.

Multiple starts now comprise 62 per cent of all new residential construction in B.C.

In Vancouver, the highest price appreciation came for condominiums, which increased by 14.6 per cent on average to $419,750 from 2006 and 2007. The average price of a detached bungalow rose 11.8 per cent to $787,500, while a standard, two-storey house increased in value by 10.7 per cent to $879,000.

© The Vancouver Province 2007


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