Home sales in northwestern BC should begin to bounce back this year and increase next year thanks to an improved regional economy, forecasts an economist with Central 1 Credit Union, a financial clearing house and trade association for BC and Ontario credit unions.
Speaking last week, Bryan Yu says an improved forest industry, demands for minerals and the equipment needed to transport resources to markets will benefit the housing market.
“Next year you will see the results of the strengthening economy and more so in 2013,” he said.
Regional home sales should increase to 625 this year from 541 in 2010 and 553 in 2009.
That’s a 16 per cent hike forecast for this year with a further 16 per cent forecast for 2012, which would push sales up to 725 units.
And Yu’s predicting another 16 per cent jump in 2013, which would bring sales up to 840 units.
Median annual prices, however, are expected to be more moderate with increases of one per cent for 2011, two per cent for 2012 and three per cent for 2013, translating into prices of $147,000, $150,000 and $155,250 respectively.
Yu said he based his prediction of a very moderate price increase in this area this year on new mortgage regulations coming into effect this spring.
The primary regulation drops the amortization period from 35 years to 30 years.
“I don’t think it will have much of an impact outside of the metro [Vancouver] area,” said Yu.
Yu’s forecast for total housing starts estimates 45 homes will be built in the area this year, up from 27 in 2010.
That’s to be followed by a jump to 65 homes in 2012 before dipping slightly to 60 homes in 2013.