The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2017 First Quarter Housing Forecast Update today.
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 14.1 per cent to 96,345 units this year, after reaching a record 112,209 units in 2016. A moderation trend that began early in 2016, combined with tougher federal government mortgage qualification rules and the foreign buyer tax in Vancouver, is expected to limit consumer demand over the next two years. However, housing demand is expected to remain well above the ten-year average of 84,700 unit sales.
“Solid fundamentals continue to underpin housing demand in the province," said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. "International trade, population growth and consumer confidence will be key economic drivers this year." Of note, net migration to the province exceeded 50,000 individuals during the first three quarters of 2016, the highest level since 2008 and a 50 per cent increase from the previous year.
The average MLS® residential price in the province is forecast to decline nearly 5 per cent to $657,000 this year, largely the result of increased consumer demand for multi-family homes and a higher proportion of transactions occurring outside the Metro Vancouver market. While a significant number of new homes are under construction in the province, market conditions will continue to be tilted in favour of home sellers in many regions, while home builders scramble to complete existing projects.