Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Vancouver home sales are “flickering to life” again



BC’s housing market got another shot in the arm last month, as total home sales rose nearly 20 percent.

Following a dismal start to the year, the province’s housing market and its biggest driver, Vancouver, have been showing signs of springing back to what market observers call “normal” levels.

The 7,666 home sales recorded in the province by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) amounted to $5.55 billion in residential real estate changing hands in October. That made for a 25.4 percent increase over October 2018. The average price of a BC home was $724,045, up by 5.1 percent from the same time last year.

While overall home sales dollar volume is still down in 2019 when compared to the same January to October period in 2019, it is largely a result of prolonged weakness in the first half of the year. For Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA’s chief economist, the market strength observed in October was a sign that prices may gain more upward momentum heading into the new year.

“Most markets around the province are returning to a more typical level of sales activity,” Ogmundson said in a media release. “That recovery in sales and slower listings activity is putting upward pressure on prices in many markets.”

Even as Canadian housing markets east of Winnipeg continue to put up consistently more impressive displays of strength in the second half of the year, BMO Chief Economist Douglas Porter did call attention to Vancouver’s relatively strong performance in October, noting that home sales were “flickering to life.” In a note published late last week, Porter wrote that the turnaround in sales should lead to more home price stability down the line.

Earlier this month, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver President Ashley Smith chalked up the renewed market strength to improved homebuyer confidence.

“Home buyers have more confidence today than we saw in the first half of the year. With prices edging down over the last year and interest rates remaining low, hopeful home buyers are becoming more active this fall,” she said.

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