Welcome to the New Normal

The way the year ended, Realtors may just as well have closed shop on November 30th and started their Hawaii vacation early. December MLS® condo sales were at or close to record lows, which had many pundits (mostly in Eastern Canada) proclaiming that the Coast was toast.

 

Although the outlook for MLS condo sales over the next 12 months is not good, it’s not “that” bad.  (see: 2013 MLS Condo Market Forecast)

 

The worst-hit markets are the ones that previously attracted the most offshore (aka Chinese) buyers and investors. Downtown Vancouver high-rise sales are taking a big hit. Westside high-rise sales and prices are both down. Richmond high-rise sales have cratered. But despite the downward sales trend in most markets, selling prices are either holding steady or showing only a modest downward trend.

 

The next three to four months will set the pace for the condo market in 2013. These are typically the best months for condo sales. The return to the PST/GST tax on April 1st may help sales but what would be more helpful is a reversal of the population loss to other provinces and an increase in international migration. Third quarter 2012 figures show that BC had a net loss 6,423 persons to other provinces for the first nine months of 2012 and a net gain of 35,255 persons from international migration. Total net migration to BC in 2012 will likely be close to 30,000 persons which is down by about 5,000 from 2011 and about half the total net migration in 2009.

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