No evidence of ‘freefall’ in Vancouver market says Vancity CEO

by Steve Randall07 May 2019

The continued decline of Vancouver’s housing market was exacerbated in April by a further annual decrease in home sales.

But despite the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reporting that sales were 43% below the 10-year average and 29.1% below April 2018 levels, there are some positive signs according to the CEO of Vancity.

“We see no evidence of a freefall,” Tamara Vrooman told Bloomberg. “We have certainly seen a lot of sitting on the sidelines and wait-and-see, but we’re also seeing signs that we might be at the trough."

The credit union leader explained that the outlying suburbs and southern Vancouver Island are starting to show growth and developers are starting to build up their land and lots portfolios.

But affordability remains the top issue for the Vancouver housing market she said with the mortgage stress test having pushed the homebuying dream further down the line for many potential first-time buyers.

Credit union strength
Vrooman also told Bloomberg that the credit union, which counts around a quarter of metro Vancouver residents among its customers, is competing for the “hearts and minds” of customers every day, especially with the big banks.

She said that most of Vancity’s new customers come from TD and RBC because they are the largest.

While growth in new mortgage originations has slowed to around 3-4%, Vancity has a 92% retention rate for home loans.

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