Throughout a booming real estate climb in the latter half of 2009, the province of British Columbia was doing quite well. This was mostly due to the hot sales in Vancouver, Victoria and the Fraser Valley. All three super hot markets made the entire province look good. Now that the market has cooled, the slower markets in these three areas are having the opposite effect. Since British Columbia’s economic rebound was led by the housing market, it is not sure how this will effect the provinces overall outlook.
2009 proved to be a hot year partially because consumers were enticed to get into the market by lower real estate prices and record low mortgage rates. People just saw an opportunity and even though had no plans to buy for a year or more down the road, just jumped into the housing market.
Now many of these people are probably thanking their lucky stars as they look at the rising mortgage rates and the tighter mortgage lending rules, not to mention the implementation of the Harmonized Sales Tax (HRT) that started on July 1st of this year. All of these factors no doubt are contributing to what is now very much a buyer’s market. Housing starts have slowed down as well.
Metro Vancouver saw sales dip 45 percent comparing July of 2010 to the same month in 2009. The Fraser Valley’s sales numbers fell by 48 percent. Victoria and the Kelowna-Okanagan area both saw sales decrease over 30 percent. July 2010 home prices, at an average of $491,832 were up six percent from July of 2009, but they have started to fall. July’s numbers are down 1.6 percent from the housing average in June of this year.