Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bank of Canada chief sees no housing crash

The numbers certainly support the Bank of Canada’s expectations for heading off a housing meltdown. The question is, how long will that last? reports The Globe and Mail.

And the answer – who knows? - is one of the reasons central bank chief Stephen Poloz is still concerned.

The Bank of Canada governor said he still expects a soft landing in residential real estate, and that the debt burden among consumers will continue to stabilize. According to Mr. Poloz, we’re more responsible now.

But, the “imbalances” in the housing market are still elevated, he said, which means Canadians are vulnerable should we see another economic shock.

“Consumers are showing responsibility; for example, homebuyers who opt to buy less than they qualify for so they don’t find themselves overextended if interest rates rise,” he added.

“Banks, as well, are underwriting loans more carefully, ensuring that people can service their debts if rates go up. So, while the risk could be significant, we are comfortable that it is not outsized.”

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Port Moody taxes to rise 2.1%

Port Moody homeowners will see an average $59 jump in their property bills this year.
On Tuesday, city council unanimously gave three readings to the tax bylaw, which, if approved next month, will see property and utility levies go up by a blended 2.1%. The rate is more than a point lower than last year's 3.38%.
The tax, which pays for city hall, fire, police and library services as well as utilities such as garbage and recycling collection, means homeowners living in a home with the statistically average assessed value of $539,275 will pay about $2,865 this year.
Council voted to make a few adjustments to the budget this year to save money: The city will sell three older police cruises, shave $40,000 off three summer celebrations (looking for corporate sponsorship instead) and bump the city tourism plan to next year.
As well, council voted against hiring a media clipping service and moved the second phase of the museum site study to 2018. And no additional police officers or firefighters will be hired this year.
As part of the five-year financial plan, which also received three bylaw readings, council plans to tuck away 1% a year until at least 2018 for asset renewal.
Among its major capital projects for 2014, the city is proposing:
• $859,000 for transportation upgrades (traffic calming, signage and bus stops);
• $675,000 for civic centre exterior repairs;
• $520,000 for the water system replacement and upgrades on Moody Street;
• $464,000 for recreation complex improvements;
• $450,000 for road reconstruction.
In her report to council, financial services manager Gorana Cabral noted Port Moody, like other B.C. municipalities, struggles to keep up with increased wages and benefits for city staff, rising federal and provincial costs for CPP, EI and WCB contributions, inflation and other related fees to do business (utilities, fuel, software maintenance and postage).
Still, the city has seen "some modest growth" in tax revenues from new construction as well as fees and fines hikes, she wrote.
Port Moody's 2.1% blended hike is lower than Coquitlam's rate of 2.42% but higher than Port Coquitlam's, which this year saw a 0.21% decrease.
Port Moody forecasts property taxes will rise an average of $66 next year and $88 in 2016. City council is expected to adopt its 2014 tax rate and five-year financial plan bylaws at its May 13 meeting. Property taxes are due by July 2.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Best Cities To Invest In Real Estate? Those Would Be Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary

Canadian cities top the world for the real estate markets that make the best bet for long-term investment, according to a study from U.K. property developer Grosvenor — but they may not be such a great investment in the short term.
Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary took the top three spots, respectively, on the survey that aims to measure which real estate markets are the most resilient, and therefore make the best long-term investment.
"Canada, as a whole, is doing exceptionally well in developing resiliency,” Richard Barkham, group research director at Grosvenor, said in a statement.
“The top three most-resilient cities in Grosvenor's Resiliency index are Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. For investors in property and real estate, it makes Canada a very sound long-term investment."
Barkham singled out Toronto for praise, saying the city’s long-term commitment to developing and upgrading infrastructure placed it at the top of the rankings.
The three top-ranking cities were the only Canadian ones surveyed in the study. Chicago came in fourth place.
To determine a real estate market's long-term strength, the study looked at “environmental and social vulnerability and adaptive capacity,” covering areas such as infrastructure, environment and climate.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Canadian Average Home Prices Up 6% Year-Over-Year in March - CREA

TORONTO--The average price of a Canadian resale home rose 6% in March from last year, a decline from the more torrid pace seen over the last several months, as the pricey Vancouver market's share of national sales declined, the Canadian Real Estate Association said.
The average national price for resale houses reached 401,419 Canadian dollars ($365,125), according to monthly sales data from the national umbrella group for Canadian realtors. In recent months the average price had been up 8%-10% year-over-year.
The MLS Home Price Index, which is weighted to offset the effect of changes in the mix of sales activity, rose 5.19% on a year-over-year basis in March, up slightly from the 5.05% gain recorded in February.
"Year-over-year price growth picked up among all property types tracked by the index," CREA said.
Sales rose by 1% from February to March on a seasonally adjusted basis, building on the monthly gain of 0.6% in the previous month, but leaving activity closer to the low reached in January 2014 than to the most recent peak reached in August 2013, it said.
"Sales rose in more than half of all local housing markets in March, led by gains in a number of large urban markets in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario," CREA said.
"While activity in BC's Lower Mainland posted a monthly decline, sales there remained well above year-ago levels," it said.
"Sales in many housing markets continue to recover from winter's deep freeze," said CREA President Beth Crosbie said in the release.
The slowing in sales in West Coast housing markets reflects the fact that national and local housing trends can diverge, she said.
The number of newly listed homes edged up 0.5% nationwide from February to March, while the Canadian housing market remains in balanced territory overall, CREA said.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Canadian Consumer Price Inflation - April 17, 2014

Canadian consumer prices rose 1.5 per cent in the twelve months to March, a 0.4 point increase from February's inflation reading of 1.1 per cent. The increase was largely the result of a rise in energy prices of 4.6 per cent.  The Bank of Canada's index of core inflation, which strips out the most volatile components of the CPI, such as food and energy prices, increased 1.3 per cent in March. Inflation remains relatively non-existent in British Columbia. Consumer prices in BC increased 0.5 per cent from February and were just 0.1 per cent higher year-over-year in March.

As noted in yesterday's interest rate decision, the Bank of Canada expects energy prices to push total CPI inflation higher throughout 2014, while core inflation is forecast to remain relatively muted. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

As expected, the Bank of Canada Rate is unchanged!

The Bank of Canada announced today that it is holding the benchmark rate steady. Great news if you’ve got a variable-rate mortgage; the prime rate stays at 3%.
The announcement noted that “with underlying inflation expected to remain below target for some time, the downside risks to inflation remain important.” And that “the risks associated with household imbalances remain elevated.” With these considerations, the Bank is maintaining its monetary policy stimulus.
The next rate-setting day is June 4. Eight times a year the Bank of Canada sets the rate that governs each lender’s prime rate. Variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit move in conjunction with the prime lending rate. Fixed rates on the other hand are based on the bond market.

TRANSIT Burquitlam braces for Evergreen Line

Coquitlam city officials have known for decades Burquitlam was destined for rapid transit — the challenge is to change it from a car-centric neighbourhood into a transit-focused urban centre.
City planning and development general manager Jim McIntyre describes the area, situated on the border of Burnaby and Coquitlam, as the sort of “vintage suburban” leftover from the design thinking of the 1960s.
In other words: “Big properties. Lots of asphalt — not many roads,” McIntyre said.
But with the impending arrival of the Evergreen Line, a network expected to ferry 50,000 daily riders after opening in 2016, McIntyre has been planning for a denser kind of community development.
This direction intends to weave in a “finer grid of roadways,” incorporating what would become a Burquitlam Transit Village in the area immediately around the expected Evergreen Line station just east of Clarke Road.
Part of that work, according to Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart, requires attracting development interest, which in turn brings money into city coffers for things such as roads, pipes and other infrastructure amenities.
A new fund called “community amenity contribution,” meanwhile, is expected to raise up to $30 million for a new community centre as part of the transit-oriented development.
It’s all part of a plan, Stewart said, that helps attract investors by allowing them to exceed normal density restrictions, but at an additional cost of about $3 per square foot.
“In order to make such a massive investment in rail and rapid transit work, you need to put density around the stations,” he said.
“For example, in Burnaby there are SkyTrain stations along the Millennium Line that don’t have any density around them 13 years later, 14 years later (after opening).”
Anne McMullin, CEO of the Urban Development Institute, noted some of the costs might get passed down to homebuyers, but pointed out the money goes back into the community.
“Their fees and charges have been clear and concise, and it’s obviously focused around the investments in transportation,” she said.
“That’s what people want, it’s transit development.”
By 2021, according to the city, the neighbourhood is expected to capture up to 15% of the city’s new growth — or 1,900 new multi-family residential housing units.

Coquitlam opposed to plan for power lines

Citing issues around “construction fatigue,” a loss in property values and the increased chance of localized electrical shocks, Coquitlam council voiced its opposition Monday to any new overhead power lines in residential areas of the city.  
The move comes as BC Hydro prepares to upgrade its grid to increase capacity across Metro Vancouver.
Three different choices have been presented to Coquitlam in order to meet that demand, though both staff and council oppose any option that includes the addition of new overhead lines.
“We think there are numerous concerns with additional overhead transmission lines,” said Dana Soong, Coquitlam’s manager of utility programs. “There [are] potential health issues related to electric and magnetic fields from the power lines.”
Slated for completion in 2018, the three options feature different alignments along hydro rights-of-way and through existing road corridors spanning Coquitlam, Anmore, Belcarra, Burnaby and Vancouver. At least two of those options are situated in the Lansdowne area, near portions of Scott Creek and the Coquitlam Crunch trail. There are fears in that area over the increased likelihood of induction shocks if the power grid is expanded.
“If you walk there on a rainy day and the grass is wet, walking through the grass you’ll get zapped,” said Coun. Mae Reid. “Your ankles feel like they’re being bitten by a bunch of little ants.”
Homes on the east side of that right-of-way have a 50-metre tree buffer separating them from the lines, though some of those trees would be removed. City staff said that removal would damage the riparian zone next to Scott Creek and nearby parks.
As for the potential loss in property values, Soong pointed to a similar situation that played out in Tsawwassen in 2008. He said resident opposition was widespread to BC Hydro buying 104 homes, then attempting to re-sell them for $70,000 under market value. By contrast, the proposed Tri-Cities line would be longer and affect more homes in Coquitlam, according to Soong.
Council agreed to write a letter voicing concerns to Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. BC Hydro hopes to have a lead alternative identified in the next few months, with a public consultation to follow in the fall. From there, an application to the BC Utilities Commission to construct the project will likely be filed in 2015.

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement - April 16, 2014

The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank's target rate has now remain unchanged for 29 consecutive meetings. In its accompanying statement, the Bank noted that inflation in Canada remains low and is expected to remain below the Bank's 2 per cent inflation target this year due to slack in the economy and heightened retail competition. The Bank left is forecast for Canadian economic growth unchanged at 2.5 per cent this year and next, citing a strengthening global economy and ramped up business investment. The Bank also noted that recent developments are in line with the its expectations of a soft landing in the housing market, though elevated household debt remains a risk should economic conditions deteriorate. 
While some expected a slightly more dovish note from the Bank given continued muted inflation and a slight rise in the dollar, the Bank remains decidedly neutral. An expected second half rebound in growth and firming inflation means that the next move for interest rates is likely higher, but the timing of that move remains uncertain. Our view remains that the overnight rate will stay at its current level until at least early 2015. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Low Mortgage Rates Key Driver in Spring Housing Market

Vancouver, BC – April 15, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,661 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March, up 16.8 per cent from March 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $3.7 billion, an increase of 21.5 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $562,316, up 4 per cent from the same period last year.

"While home sales are up from a year ago, consumer demand in the province has largely been treading water over the first quarter,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “However, fewer homes for sale means that most BC markets are moving into balanced conditions, which signals no particular advantage to either home buyers or sellers."
"Low mortgage interest rates are a key driver in the market, this spring,” added Muir. “It’s unlikely that mortgage rates will be at their current low level a year from now."
During the first quarter, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 32.4 per cent to $9.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 21.1 per cent to 16,435 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 9.3 per cent at $579,775.

Canadian Manufacturing Sales - April 15, 2014

Canadian manufacturing sales increased for the second consecutive month in February, rising 1.4 per cent.  At $51.2 billion, February's manufacturing sales were the highest since July of 2008.  

In BC, manufacturing sales fell 3 per cent on a monthly basis, but were 3.4 per cent higher than February 2013.  The durable goods sector, which includes wood products, mineral products and machinery and equipment manufacturing, posted a 4.4 per cent monthly decrease. Non-durable goods like paper, clothing, and food manufacturing, declined 1.5 per cent.  The manufacturing sector employs approximately 170 thousand people in British Columbia, or roughly 7.5 per cent of the BC workforce.  Therefore, growth in manufacturing output should help spur job growth which would support the BC housing market, particularly in regions with a high concentration of manufacturing activity. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

TransLink Evergreen Line to increase Coquitlam housing prices: forecast

A national real estate firm forecasts the rate of housing prices will speed up in Coquitlam with improvements to transit and road networks in the eastern part of Metro Vancouver.
Royal LePage advisor David Reimers credits the Evergreen Line and the Port Mann-Highway 1 improvement project for the expected increase in prices.
The appreciation, he speculated, is primarily going to affect detached single-family homes that are already in short supply.
“It all boils down to supply and demand,” he said.
Reimers said the average price difference between a home in Vancouver and one in Coquiltam is about $160,000, but that gap is expected to close quickly as demand for the latter picks up.
“In time, as more people realize the benefit of the Evergreen Line and Highway 1, I expect the prices to start normalizing.”
According to an RBC poll released Thursday, “home buying intentions” are also up in B.C. this year compared to the last.
The poll found 22% of respondents were seeking to buy a home in 2014, a modest increase from 20% the year before.
The survey was conducted from Feb. 4 to 14 this year among 2,591 Canadians with a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2%.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Buyers were on the hunt for houses in March

Sales of detached homes outpaced condos and townhomes throughout the region

Buyers were on the hunt for houses in March

March home sales showed an improvement from a year ago, but transactions continued to trend below their 10-year average, according to reports.

Buyers favoured houses in the suburbs and condos in pricier urban communities in March, according to sales results released Wednesday for the Lower Mainland’s main property markets.

March sales showed an improvement from a year ago, but transactions continued to trend below their 10-year average, according to the reports.
“There has been a consistent balance between homeseller supply and homebuyer demand in our marketplace over the last year,” said Ray Harris, the newly installed president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, in a news release.
Realtors saw 2,641 sales through the Multiple Listing Service in Metro Vancouver (excluding Surrey), an increase of 13 per cent from the same month a year ago, with house sales outpacing other property types in Richmond, Port Coquitlam, North Vancouver and Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows.
However, the total remained 17 per cent below the 10-year average for March sales, the REBGV said.
Detached-home sales across the region totalled 1,116, up 20 per cent compared with a year ago, with the benchmark price, an average for typical homes sold, at $945,400, up 4.2 per cent from March 2013.
Condo sales totalled 1,106 in March, an increase of 13 per cent from a year ago. Within the region, condo sales outpaced detached homes on the west side of Vancouver, in Burnaby and in New Westminster.
Townhomes sales declined in Metro Vancouver, down three per cent compared with a year ago to 432 in March, at a benchmark price of $460,100, up 1.3 per cent from a year ago.
The proportion of house sales also increased in the Fraser Valley (including Surrey) according to Ray Werger, new president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.
Valley realtors saw 1,259 total sales cleared through MLS in March, up 12 per cent from the same month a year ago and detached homes made up 58 per cent of the number, compared with 55 per cent a year ago.
“Our main buyers are families looking for the best value possible by taking advantage of continuing low interest rates and stable home prices,” Werger said in a news release.
The benchmark price for detached homes in March was $563,400, up 3.5 per cent from a year ago, on 651 sales, according to the board’s report.
However, the benchmark prices on other property types fell — 0.4 per cent on townhouses year-over-year to $297,100, and 4.3 per cent on condos to $195,400.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Canadian Housing Starts - April 8, 2014

Canadian housing starts tumbled close to 18 per cent in March to 156,823 units at a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR).  The trend in Canadian new home construction moved lower as well, to 184,476 units SAAR. That level of construction is in-line with demographic demand. The majority of the decline in housing starts occurred in Ontario and Quebec.

New home construction in BC urban centers rose 20 cent in March to 26,276 units SAAR. On a year-over-year basis, housing starts were up 6 per cent compared to March 2013. Single-family starts rose 35 per cent while multiple units were down 1 per cent. 

Looking at census metropolitan areas (CMA) in BC, total starts in the Vancouver CMA were up 2 per cent year-over-year in March, led by a 30 per cent increase in single-family units. In the Victoria CMA, total starts fell 4 per cent over March 2013. It was another solid month for new home construction in the Kelowna CMA, where starts more than doubled year-over-year on robust gains in both single and multiple unit starts.  Housing starts in the Abbotsford-Mission CMA were sharply lower on a year-over-year basis for the second consecutive month.

Keeping your good credit good!

Keeping your good credit good!

There are several things you can do to ensure your credit remains in good standing. Following are five steps you can follow:
1) Pay down credit cards. The number one way to increase your credit score is to pay down your credit cards so they’re below 70% of your limits. Revolving credit like credit cards seems to have a more significant impact on credit scores than car loans, lines of credit, and so on.
2) Limit the use of credit cards. Racking up a large amount and then paying it off in monthly instalments can hurt your credit score. If there’s a balance at the end of the month, this affects your score – credit formulas don’t take into account the fact that you may have paid the balance off the next month.
3) Check credit limits. If your lender is slower at reporting monthly transactions, this can have a significant impact on how other lenders view your file. Ensure everything’s up to date as old bills that have been paid can come back to haunt you. Some financial institutions don’t even report your maximum limits. As such, the credit bureau is left to only use the balance that’s on hand. The problem is, if you consistently charge the same amount each month – say $1,000 to $1,500 – it may appear to the credit-scoring agencies that you’re regularly maxing out your cards. The best bet is to pay your balances down or off before your statement periods close.
4) Keep old cards. Older credit is better credit. If you stop using older credit cards, the issuers may stop updating your accounts. As such, the cards can lose their weight in the credit formula and, therefore, may not be as valuable – even though you have had the cards for a long time. Use these cards periodically and then pay them off.
5) Don’t let mistakes build up. Always dispute any mistakes or situations that may harm your score. If, for instance, a cell phone bill is incorrect and the company will not amend it, you can dispute this by making the credit bureau aware of the situation.

Mortgage before May:

Rising insurance premiums bump up costs
If you’re in the market for a mortgage, and have less than 20% downpayment, then you might want to get that mortgage before May.
For the first time in more than a decade, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is raising premiums for insuring mortgages on Canadian homes: an average 15%. Private insurer Genworth followed suit with a matching increase. Canadian homebuyers are required to have mortgage insurance if they have less than 20% equity in their homes.
How does it hit your wallet? A first-time homebuyer with a $248,000 mortgage and a 5% downpayment will pay an extra $5 per month in insurance premiums. If you are self-employed, a larger fee may apply. 
The change will come into effect on May 1st. Homebuyers will be able to access the current lower rates if they have bought a home and are approved before the May 1 deadline, even if they have a later closing date.

Home sale and listing activity continue to chart a steady path for the region’s housing market

March home sales in Greater Vancouver outpaced last year’s total yet lagged the region’s historical average for the month.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,641 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in March 2014. This represents a 12.5 per cent increase compared to the 2,347 sales recorded in March 2013, and a 4.4 per cent increase compared to the 2,530 sales in February 2014.
Last month’s sales were 17.2 per cent below the 10-year sales average for March of 3,190.
The sales-to-active-listings ratio currently sits at 18.2 per cent in Greater Vancouver, which is unchanged from last month.
“We continue to see steady and stable market conditions across the Greater Vancouver housing market,” said Ray Harris, REBGV president. “There has been a consistent balance between home seller supply and home buyer demand in our marketplace over the last year.” 
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,281 in March. This represents a 9.1 per cent increase compared to the 4,839 new listings in March 2013 and a 12.4 per cent increase from the 4,700 new listings in February. Last month’s new listing count was 5.9 per cent below the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the Greater Vancouver MLS® is 14,472, a 6.4 per cent decline compared to March 2013 and a 7.9 per cent increase compared to February 2014.
“Home prices in the region have experienced incremental gains in most areas and property types over the last 12 months,” Harris said. “It’s important to remember that this is a diverse marketplace and trends will vary depending on area and property type.”
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $615,200. This represents a 3.7 per cent increase compared to March 2013.
Sales of detached properties in March 2014 reached 1,116, an increase of 19.6 per cent from the 933 detached sales recorded in March 2013, and a 5.7 per cent decrease from the 1,183 units sold in March 2012. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 4.2 per cent from March 2013 to $945,400.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,106 in March 2014, an increase of 12.6 per cent compared to the 982 sales in March 2013, and a 7.1 per cent decline compared to the 1,191 sales in March 2012. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.8 per cent from March 2013 to $375,800.
Attached property sales in March 2014 totalled 419, a 3 per cent decline compared to the 432 sales in March 2013, and a 16.2 per cent decline from the 500 attached properties sold in March 2012. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 1.3 per cent between March 2013 and 2014 to $460,100. 

Canadian Monthly GDP Growth (January 2014) - March 31, 2014

Canadian Monthly GDP Growth (January 2014) - March 31, 2014
The Canadian economy grew 0.5 per cent in January, bouncing back from a largely weather induced dip in output in December. At the industry level, growth was led by rising output in the manufacturing industry as well as lesser contributions from mining, oil and gas, and construction.  Economic growth was expected to slow in the first quarter of 2014, and with today's release, our quarterly tracking estimate is indicating that real GDP will slow to about 2 per cent from 2.9 per cent in the previous quarter. The stronger than expected start to the year has sent Canadian bond yields modestly higher, though not enough to put any pressure on mortgage rates. 

Real Estate forecast

British Columbia is forecast to have the biggest jump in housing resale activity in 2014 in Canada, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

The CREA expects B.C. to see an increase in resale activity of 8.3% year-over-year – well above the anticipated national growth of 1.3%. While this means the province will be the biggest contributor to the expected growth across the country, the association said this is due to having had particularly slow sales in 2013, mostly in the early part of the year.
The opposite holds true for Canada as a whole, with 2014 starting out with low levels of growth compared with previous years. This is due to the particularly strong activity in the summer and fall of 2013.
“I expect fixed mortgage rates will edge marginally higher in the second half of 2014 as evidence confirms an anticipated pick-up in economic growth,” said CREA chief economist Gregory Klump.
“Marginally higher mortgage rates are likely to counterbalance the lift provided by stronger economic and continuing job growth, and restrain the momentum for sales activity.”
National sales are expected to climb to 463,700 units this year, and a further 1.2% in 2015 to 469,400 units.
The national average home price across the country is expected to rise by 3.8% in 2014

February Home Sales Edge Lower./Greater Vancouver

Vancouver, BC – March 14, 2014.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 5,578 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February, up 24.9 per cent from February 2013. Total sales dollar volume was $3.4 billion, an increase of 43.1 per cent compared to a year ago. The average MLS® residential price in the province rose to $611,688, up 15.4 per cent from the same period last year.

"Consumer demand was much stronger in February compared to a year ago, but edged lower compared to January,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Weak employment growth in 2013 has limited home sales so far this year to long-term average levels."
"Record low mortgage interest rates and population growth continue to underpin the housing market and most regions of the province are at or near balanced market conditions,” added Muir.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 10.1 per cent to $36.7 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 6 per cent to 68,510 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 3.8 per cent at $535,411.