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Metro Vancouver real estate market to stabilize in coming months, says economist

The Metro Vancouver housing market is in a healthier position for first-time homebuyers or someone looking to get into the real estate market, says one expert.
Multiple Listing Service (MLS) residential sales in B.C. are forecast to decline 34.4 per cent from a record high 2021 to 81,900 units this year.

As Metro Vancouver moves out of a quieter summer season for the housing market, home prices are expected to stabilize in the next three months, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA's chief economist, says home prices peaked in February of this year and have since come down by around 10 per cent. 

The BCREA 2022 Third Quarter Housing Forecast Update released Sept. 8 says this is somewhat due to major shifts in the composition of sales toward less expensive homes, but also largely as a result of significantly depressed sales activity. 

“Now, we're starting to really flatten out,” he said. “I expect that's kind of where we're at now in terms of price levels, probably where we're going to be at for a while.” 

Because of the steep increase at the beginning of the year, “home prices averaged across all of 2022 will still end the year up 4.4 per cent but average price levels will be slightly lower in 2023,” the report said. 

For someone who is looking to purchase a home in the coming months, Ogmundson says the market is more beneficial than what we had a year ago at this time. He described the market then as more “frenetic,” “tighter” and “urgent.” 

“Right now, I think it'd be better if sales were a little higher, inventories were a little higher and markets were kind of balanced in that way. Instead, sales activities are pretty slow, inventory’s up but kind of plateauing,” he said. 

What this does provide prospective homebuyers is a little breathing room on every transaction, he says. Because of the lack of urgency compared to the previous year, he says that it is a healthier marker. 

“In that way, prices are down a bit from their peak. So I think we're in a more healthy position right now than we were a year ago in terms of the overall market and what's best for first time buyers or anyone looking to get into the market,” said Ogmundson.