Home sales in BC were down 33.2% in January compared to a year earlier.
Figures from British Columbia Real Estate Association show that 3,546 sales were recorded by the MLS in January. Prices were also lower with an average MLS price of $665,590, 7.7% below January 2018.
“BC households continue to grapple with the policy-induced affordability shock created last year by the federal government,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “The resulting pullback in consumer demand is largely responsible for January’s lacklustre performance.”
The decline in sales meant a further build-up of inventory to 29,522 units, a 41.2% rise year-over-year. The ratio of sales to active residential listings declined from 25.4 per cent to 12% over the same period.
“Many BC regions are now exhibiting buyer’s market conditions,” added Muir. “However, BC Northern, the Kootenay, Okanagan Mainline and the Vancouver Island markets continue to reflect balance between supply and demand.”
Announcing an overall year-over-year decline in national sales activity (of 4% not seasonally-adjusted), CREA also acknowledged the impact of policy on some regions.
“Sales, market balance and home price trends are out of synch among major Canadian cities that have the greatest impact on national results,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s Chief Economist. “It’s clear that housing market conditions remain weaker in the Prairie region and the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Notwithstanding the intended consequences, tighter mortgage regulations that took effect in 2018 combined with previous tightening will weigh on economic growth this year.”
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