BC home sales increased last month despite stress test struggles

Tighter mortgage lending restrictions continue to constrain the British Columbia housing market although last month did see a rise from the previous month.

May sales through the MLS of 8,221 units was an increase from April but was still 7% below those of May 2018 according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

“BC home sales increased 9% in May compared to April, on a seasonally adjusted basis,” said BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir. “However, consumers continue to struggle with the negative shock to affordability that stringent mortgage lending policies have created.”

Inventory gained 23.2% to 41,519 units compared to the same month last year but total active listings were down 2% from April, on a seasonally adjusted basis. This was the first monthly decline since the B20 Stress test was introduced in January 2018.

The average MLS residential price in the province was $707,829, a decline of 4.3% from May 2018. Total sales dollar volume was $5.8 billion, down 11% from the same month last year.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 25.1% to $19.8 billion, compared with the same period in 2018. Residential unit sales decreased 20.2% to 28,711 units, while the average MLS residential price was down 6.2% to $688,339.

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