BC – The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 4,426 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in January 2020, an increase of 23.7 per cent from the 3,579 units sold in January 2019. The average MLS residential price in BC was $725,370, a 9.1 per cent increase from $664,633 recorded the previous year. Total sales dollar volume in January was $3.2 billion, a 35 per cent increase over 2019.
“Housing markets in BC are off to a strong start in 2020,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “We expect a much more typical year of home sales in 2020 as markets recover from the policy-induced slowdown of the past two years.”
Total MLS residential active listings fell 12.6 per cent to 25,790 units compared to the same month last year. The ratio of sales to active residential listings increased to 17.2 per cent from just 12.1 per cent last January.
“While many markets are showing strong signs of recovery, the struggling forestry sector is having a clear impact on housing demand, particularly in the North and parts of Vancouver Island,” added Ogmundson.
The Canadian economy grew by 0.1 per cent in November, offsetting most of the decline in October. Driving the increase were the construction industry (0.5 per cent) and utilities (2.1 per cent) where inclement weather in central Canada drove up demand (2.1 per cent).
There were gains in 15 of 20 industries, where retail trade recouped some of the loss reported in October, led by increases at auto dealers. Meanwhile, activity at stores typically associated with Black Friday were mixed. In contrast, decreases were reported in wholesale, transportation (due to an eight-day strike), and in the mining and oil sector (due to the temporary closure of a Potash mine).
Activity at offices of real estate agents and brokers increased 1.3 per cent in November, rising for the ninth consecutive month. The increase was due to higher housing resale activity in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.
BCREA expects growth in the Canadian economy to slow down in the fourth quarter to 0.5 per cent after posting moderate growth in the previous quarter. One factor to look out for is the transitory impact on growth of the coronavirus both in Canada and abroad.