Sales of single-family homes in May board-wide dropped by 12 per cent but rose by 11 per cent from April. Last month, 459 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 412 the previous month and 519 in May 2018. Sales of apartments dipped by seven per cent year over year while townhouse sales increased by 19 per cent. The British Columbia Real Estate Association reports that on a seasonally adjusted basis, sales in the VIREB area are close to 2014 levels, and current market conditions are expected to continue into the fall.
The mortgage stress test (Guideline B-20) continues to hurt housing sales throughout British Columbia, including Vancouver Island. Although the B.C. economy continues to be highly supportive of housing demand, the negative shock to affordability and purchasing power created by the stress test is making it extremely difficult for some buyers, particularly millennials, to enter the housing market. Prospective buyers who can afford monthly mortgage payments are unable to qualify because Guideline B-20 has eroded their purchasing power by as much as 20 per cent. Weak housing demand has also contributed to an increase in total active residential listings across the province.
In the VIREB area, inventory of single-family homes in May rose by 22 per cent from one year ago (1,217 to 1,482). Active listings of apartments climbed by 18 per cent (287 to 339) year over year while townhouse inventory decreased by five per cent (197 to 187). Despite decreased demand, prices in the VIREB area are still rising, although those increases are softening. The benchmark price of a single-family home board-wide was $512,500 in May, a four per cent increase from one year ago. (Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.) In the apartment category, the benchmark price climbed to $300,700 from one year ago, a six per cent increase. The benchmark price of a townhouse hit $445,500 last month, up seven per cent over May 2018.
Regionally, the benchmark price of a single-family home in Nanaimo’s rose by two per cent to $557,500 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by three per cent to $587,100.
Some 13,479 people moved to British Columbia from other provinces in the third quarter of 2018. This was down 8.8% from a year earlier. Fewer people came to British Columbia from Alberta compared to a year earlier.
A total of 14,696 people left the province for elsewhere in Canada in the third quarter, an increase of 7.4% from the same period in 2017. More people leaving for Ontario and Quebec accounted for the majority of this increase.
The result was a net loss of 1,217 people from British Columbia’s population in the third quarter. This was a reversal from the gain of about 1,100 people from the third quarter of 2017 and marked the first net loss since the first quarter of 2013.
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