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Housing in Metro Vancouver is B.C.’s biggest industry

Worth more than GDP of resource industries combined

Buying and selling older houses in Metro Vancouver is now worth more to the provincial economy than the B.C. forestry, natural gas and mining industries combined.

Projected dollar volume of residential resales in 2015 through the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is pegged at $38.6 billion, up 41% from a year ago, according to the BC Real Estate Association. Sales of detached houses alone in the region are worth $24.9 billion. In the Fraser Valley, total residential sales will tally $11.4 billion in 2015, 11.4% higher than in 2014.

In comparison, the total GDP of the B.C. forestry industry this year will be $1.8 billion, the oil and gas industry will be worth $6.9 billion and the mining industry will ring at $4 billion, according to forecasts from Central 1 Credit Union. Together these traditional B.C. industries will generate a GDP of  $12.7 billion in 2015, or about three months worth of housing resales in the Vancouver region.

Province wide, resales of homes will total $64. 5 billion in 2015, said BCREA economist Brendon Ogmundson,  

Bryan Yu, senior economist with Central I cautioned that industrial GDP is the measurement of new production, while resale housing sales “doesn’t really add any value. It is not a direct comparison.”

However, Yu noted that residential construction in B.C. this year will reach a GDP of $21.2 billion, up 8% from a year ago, and worth more than 10% of the entire industrial gross domestic product in the province.

“Overall, housing is a huge economic driver for B.C.,” Yu said.