Between deep lows and staggering highs over the last decade for local real estate sales, the word for 2019 so far is “balance.”
With the new mortgage stress test causing a sharp decline in sales in the biggest two markets in B.C. – Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley – prices too have moderated across the province.
But while province-wide the average price of a home sold in B.C. in 2018 increased just 0.4 per cent from $709,601 in 2017 to $712,508, prices in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) increased 11.2 per cent. Only the tiny real estate board in Powell River saw a higher price increase year over year.
“Prices are levelling off but because Chilliwack always tends to be more affordable than other areas, we remain fairly strong given the economic trends,” CADREB executive officer Steve Lerigny explained.
The average sale price of a home in 2018 in the CADREB area – which includes Chilliwack, Agassiz, Hope and everywhere in between – was $516,843. That’s up 11.2 per cent from an average of $464,897 in 2017.
(A year ago, the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) predicted an average sale price locally in 2018 to be $489,900.)
The average selling price of a home in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (which includes Abbotsford to White Rock) in 2018 was $747,725 up 6.5 per cent over 2017’s $701,842. While the average selling price in Greater Vancouver was $1,048,435 up 1.6 per cent over 2017’s $1,031,546.
Provincewide the BCREA reported that a total of 78,345 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service in 2018, a decline of 24.5 per cent from the 103,758 units sold in 2017.
Locally, sales were down 29 per cent year-over-year from 3,983 to 2,829. But that sales number comes after the two biggest years ever in Chilliwack.
“B.C. home sales fell below the 10-year average of 84,800 units in 2018,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist. “The sharp decline in affordability caused by the mortgage stress test is largely to blame for decline in consumer demand last year.”
Lerigny agreed, adding that the stress test has taken the wind out of the sails of first-time buyers, but he said Chilliwack is “solidly” in a balanced market, as evidenced by the fluctuations over the last 15 years.
“The speculation tax has slowed the migration from the west, but for some the prospect of a more affordable retirement along with project, like the Molson move, keep the market a little steadier.
“The market seems to be fluctuating a bit some of the members are saying that it has picked up somewhat. Housing priced right for the time will still attract buyers who are in the market. Buyers should make sure they are pre-qualified by their mortgage professional.”