CMHC predicts flat Greater Vancouver housing sales and prices through 2013

By Charlie Smith

A new federal Crown corporation report forecasts a four percent increase in housing starts in Greater Vancouver this year and again in 2013.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation also predicts that housing sales and prices will remain flat through 2013.

The average multiple-listing-service price is expected to fall two percent this year and rise five percent next year.

The average price for a single detached home in the region should reach $1.13 million by 2013, according to CMHC.

Sales volumes are expected to drop three percent this year and increase by eight percent next year.

"While a few municipalities such as the Tri-Cities and North Vancouver have remained in sellers' market conditions, others such as Burnaby, Vancouver City, and West Vancouver have moved to balanced market conditions in the first quarter of this year," the report states. "Richmond moved from sellers' market conditions in the first quarter of 2011 to buyers' market conditions in [the] first quarter of 2012."

The first quarter saw a one percent decrease in the average multiple-listing-service price compared to the first quarter of 2011, the report adds.

The rental market is expected to remain "stable", the report notes, "in response to expected increases in full-time employment and new household formation".

"With home prices forecast to remain steady and mortgage interest rates stable this year and rising gradually next year, the gap between the average monthly rent and mortgage payment may prompt some renters to choose to continue renting rather than move to home ownership," CMHC states. "As a result, expectations are for downward pressure on purpose-built rental vacancy rates."

The report also states that an increase in the number of secondary market-rental units will likely expand the supply.

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