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B.C. home sales down 45 per cent year-over-year in October: BCREA

But national home sales rose slightly for the first time since February, says CREA
Activity in B.C. shows that the market is absorbing the impact of interest rate hikes, says BCREA chief economist | Photo: vkyryl/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Home sales were slow across B.C. in October, according to new data from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), with inventory levels plateauing and average prices recently leveling off, says chief economist Brendon Ogmundson. 

A total of 5,242 residential unit sales were recorded in October 2022, a decrease of 45.5 per cent from October 2021, according to the BCREA. 

“There are some signs that the initial large impact of rate hikes is now going to fully absorb into markets. And, and from here, I think we're going to probably see markets kind of trending around the level they're at now,” Ogmundson said. 

From the end of 2021 until the early months of 2022, prices ran up in essentially every market in B.C., says Ogmundson. Since February, average prices have come down by roughly 10 per cent to 15 per cent. He says that in the last couple of months, prices have plateaued at their current levels. 

The average MLS residential price in B.C. saw a decrease of 3.1 per cent from $963,011 to $932,979. Total sales dollar volume declined by 47.2 per cent from the same time last year, according to the BCREA. 

“The real trend we're seeing all across the province is that prices have more or less returned to where they were in about late fall 2021. And that seems to be the price level that buyers and sellers are kind of comfortable with right now,” Ogmundson said. 

Despite the increase in sales activity for all of Canada, Ogmundson says that levels are still very low. 

“We were pretty sure they weren't going to go much lower. There's sort of a floor on how low home sales can get in normal times and we were approaching that point,” he said. 

“Good to see that sales were up, but they're still about 25 to 30 per cent below normal levels of sales.”

Nationally, home sales data from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) published this week shows a gain of 1.3 per cent between September 2022 and October 2022; this is the first increase since February. 

Greater Vancouver led the charge with a month-over-month increase of 6 per cent in October, and Montreal offset this increase with a decrease of 2.4 per cent in activity. The province of B.C. also recorded a gain with month-over-month sales increasing by 5.8 per cent. 

“In October, sales across the country increased for the first time since before interest rates started to rise last winter,” said Jill Oudil, Chair of CREA in a media statement.

“Of course, we’ve known the demand was there, so it’s just been a matter of some playing the waiting game as borrowing costs and prices have adjusted. Moving into 2023, sellers and buyers will likely continue coming off the sidelines, but it’s a very different market compared to just one year ago.”