The lowdown on what’s happening – and what is forecast – for Vancouver’s real estate market

The slowdown in Vancouver’s real estate market is one factor leading the Canadian Real Estate Association to cut its sales forecast for this year and next on Monday.

Vancouver’s sales numbers dropped 27.6 per cent — the second biggest drop in the country behind Halifax — in November 2012, compared to the same month last year, after tighter lending rules that came into force this summer. The average price is down 6.3 per cent for the same period to $682,215, while the MLS home price index is down 1.7 per cent from a year ago. The average price reflects the mix of sales, while the HPI reflects price changes for typical homes.

While BMO deputy chief economist Doug Porter said most cities across Canada would see a soft landing for their real estate markets, he called Vancouver a “rather obvious exception.”

“I don’t know that I’d call it a hard landing in Vancouver, but it’s definitely a bumpier landing than most cities in Canada are going through right now,” Porter said.

Meanwhile, it appears people thinking of selling their homes may be holding off, especially in Metro Vancouver, as the region saw the largest drop in the country for new listings.

New supply reached its lowest level in more than two years, CREA said.

“That may help avert a harder landing for prices because sellers do have the leeway to back off,” Porter said. “Fundamentally, I think that’s one of the reasons why the Canadian housing market is likely not going to have a hard landing because you’re not going to have a lot of motivated sellers — people aren’t going to be forced into it by rising interest rates or declining employment so they can take their time and wait for the market to stabilize.”

Source: Tracy Sherlock and Craig Wong, Vancouver Sun

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