Greater Vancouver home sales to drop more than 8% in 2016: BCREA forecast

Decreasing inventories, and not falling demand, will drive unit sales down

A drop in inventory will drive 2016 home unit sales down, while prices increase | Shutterstock 

The number of homes sold in Greater Vancouver will be scaled back in 2016, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s first quarter forecast released January 28.

In 2015, a total of 43,145 homes changed hands in the region, according to the association, and this is expected to fall 8.2% in 2016, with a forecast of 39,600 units sold. In 2017, home sales should rebound slightly—2.3%—but will remain below 2015 levels, with a total of 40,500 sales expected.

The downward trend is expected to extend across the entire province, with a 6.2% drop in the number of home sales to 96,115 across B.C.

The expected decrease is not related to a drop in demand, however.

“The inventory of homes for sale is now at its lowest level in almost a decade,” said BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir.

Muir said demand will remain strong, which will drive prices upward across most of the province.

In Vancouver, the average home price—across all home types—will reach $980,000, up 8.6% compared with $902,801 in 2015. Across B.C., the price is expected to grow 6.4% to $677,200.

Home prices in Victoria are forecast to jump 4.5% to an average of $545,000. The cheapest average home prices across the province, the BCREA forecasts, will be found in the Northern Lights region of the south Okanagan ($251,000), across Northern B.C. ($252,000) and in Powell River ($255,000).

The BCREA said consumer demand will keep new home construction strong, especially on the South Coast.

“Total housing starts in the province are forecast to remain close to an annual pace of 30,000 units through 2017, which will be the strongest two-year performance since the 2007-2008 period,” the association said in a press release.