B.C. home sales plateau as housing markets ‘stage strong recovery’

2020 residential real estate poised to be a “much more typical year” than recent activity, says B.C. Real Estate Association

Following a slide in B.C. home sales that put total transactions in 2018 at 24.5 per cent lower than 2017, a flurry of activity in the second half of 2019 meant the sales trend line for the full year virtually flattened out.

There were 77,331 home sales on B.C.’s MLS in 2019, which is just 1.5 per cent below that of 2018, according to British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) stats released January 13.

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While this level of activity is well below historical full-year averages (see graph above), the levelling-off of sales suggest that the slowdown has stopped. What’s more, the late-2019 surge that offset the weak first-half sales suggests demand is returning to the market, which could push sales this year back up to long-run average levels, hinted the BCREA.

“Housing markets across the province staged a strong recovery in the second half of 2019,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson. “This sets up 2020 to be a much more typical year than what markets have experienced recently.”

The association also reported on December 2019 residential resale activity across the province, which was up 48.9 per cent from December 2018 to 5,218 units. Much of this was led by Greater Vancouver, which saw home sales last month leap nearly 88 per cent year over year.

The BCREA also reported that total active home listings across B.C. were down 10.6 per cent annually to 24,691 units in December. It added, “Total inventory of homes for sale have declined more than 10 per cent on a year-over-year basis for two straight months.”

The average residential resale price in B.C. in December was $755,165, an increase of 8.7 per cent from December 2018.

However, the movement in sale prices, as well as activity itself, varied widely from region to region (see table below). The largest average price increase was an 18.8 per cent annual jump in the B.C. Northern board area, which includes Prince George, Prince Rupert and booming resource towns such as Kitimat.

BCREA Dec 2019 sales and prices by board region
Source: BCREA Economics

For more on home sales and price activity in your B.C. region, see the BCREA’s full report.

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