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BC home sales brightest light in economy

Vancouver, BC – August 27, 2009. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its Forecast Update for the third quarter of 2009 today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales are forecast to climb 15 per cent from 68,923 units in 2008 to 79,400 units this year, just below the ten-year average of 82,800 units. Residential sales in 2010 are forecast to rise an additional 6 per cent to 84,200 units. For comparison, a record 106,310 units were sold in 2005.

“After 12 months of significant volatility in BC’s housing markets, greater stability is expected through 2010,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Robust housing demand is a strong signal that the economy is coming out of the recession, with a recovery in the broader economy expected to develop over the next three quarters.”

“Home sales have doubled since January, with prices edging higher in Metro Vancouver and Victoria in recent months,” said Muir. The average annual MLS® residential price in the province is forecast to reach $451,200 in this year, down 1 per cent from a record $454,599 in 2008.

“Market conditions vary depending on the region of the province,” added Muir. “While the Metro Vancouver and Victoria markets have rebounded sharply, interior markets are demonstrating a more gradual trend toward balance between supply and demand.”

BC housing starts are forecast to increase 25 per cent 18,500 units next year after a dismal 2009. Housing starts are forecast to decline 57 per cent to 14,800 units this year, the lowest level of activity since 2000. - 30 - The full BCREA Housing Forecast Update is available at: