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Housing market, deflation in prices and population growth in the province
Housing market upswing predicted
The B.C. housing market will see slow but steady growth over the next three years, according to a forecast by Central 1 Credit Union.
The trade association for B.C. and Ontario credit unions predicts the number of sales will rise about seven per cent to 72,500 in 2014, and reach 84,000 by 2016. The median resale price is forecast to increase 1.5 per cent in 2014, 2.5 per cent in 2015 and three per cent in 2016.
New home sales are expected to rebound by about 30 per cent in 2014, but remain at a low level of 15,500 units sold, said Central 1 economist Brian Yu.
New construction in the Lower Mainland Southwest region is expected to decline slightly due to high inventory, while housing starts are forecast to rise in most other areas of the province.
Deflation in B.C. prices
B.C.'s consumer price index slipped into negative territory in November, partly due the repeal of the harmonized sales tax last spring.
The price index in Vancouver was up slightly, but deflation in Victoria and other areas of the province produced a provincial average of -0.2 per cent for the month. Canada-wide, inflation was 0.9 per cent.
The cost of restaurant food fell 4.4 per cent in November compared to the same month in 2012, Statistics Canada reported. The provincial average cost of health and personal care, including services where sales tax was removed, went down 3.1 per cent.
There were average price increases in food purchased from stores, up 1.1 per cent, clothing up 1.3 per cent, transportation up 0.7 per cent and alcohol and tobacco products, up 1.7 per cent.
Average rent costs were up 1.0 per cent, but overall shelter cost was down 0.7 per cent, continuing a decline since mid-2012.
B.C. population reaches 4.6 million
B.C.'s population grew by 24,000 in the third quarter of 2013, reaching 4,606,375.
It's the largest population increase for that quarter since 1996. The increase was mainly a result of 15,477 non-permanent residents, which Statistics Canada warns are a volatile component of population measurement.
Northern B.C. communities are dealing with what they call "ghost populations," with thousands of workers flying in and out of industrial camps who put pressure on local services without contributing to communities.
Interprovincial migration figures showed the seventh consecutive quarter of net loss for B.C., down 282 people from the second quarter.
B.C.'s total population increase over the 12 months ending Oct. 1 was 47,496 people, mainly due to international immigration, which saw a net gain of 35,282 people. Natural growth (births minus deaths) accounted for 11,214 of the total.