Federal mortgage qualification rules slow real estate activity in B.C.: BCREA

Both the total dollar volume of home sales and the number of units changing hands in Greater Vancouver fell around 35% in May, according to new data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

According to the BCREA, the drop in sales was related to new federal rules that make it more difficult for buyers to qualify for a mortgage.

“B.C. home sales continued to slow in May because of more stringent qualifications for conventional borrowers,” BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir said.

“The changes in mortgage policy are taking their toll on housing demand, not only in British Columbia, but across the country by reducing household purchasing power and housing affordability.”

A total of just under $3.2 billion in real estate transactions took place in the month, down 35.1% compared with more than $4.9 billion in May 2017. The number of units sold fell 34.7% from 4,425 to 2,890, and the average home sale dipped 0.6% to $1,103,803 in the region.

Across B.C., the total dollar value of all homes sold fell 30%, from $9.3 billion to $6.5 billion. Unit sales fell 28.7% to 8,837 in the month.

According to the BCREA, a drop in demand has boosted the inventory of homes available for sale, but the numbers are still low by historical standards.