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British Columbia Quarterly Market Overview: Q1 2024

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According to a quarterly report by Edge Realty, there are some mixed indicators for the strength of the BC housing market. 

Sales 

Quarter-over-quarter, there was a significant increase of 8.9% in sales in the first quarter of 2024, indicating a reasonable demand for housing. However, the year-over-year growth was more modest at 0.6%, which may indicate a slowdown in the housing market compared to the previous year.

Listings

Quarter-over-quarter for the first three months of 2024, there was a significant rise of 5.7% in new listings. The year-over-year growth in new listings was even more substantial, at 32.2%.

For active listings overall, there was also an increase. Both quarter-over-quarter for Q1 2024 and year-over-year, there’s a positive trend in active listings, indicating a growing inventory of available homes for sale. The quarter-over-quarter increase for Q1 2024 was 6.3%, while the year-over-year increase was a notable 25.6%. This increase in supply could have an impact on housing prices, offering more options for potential buyers.

Months of Inventory

The months of inventory number, which measures how long it would take to sell existing homes on the market given the current pace of sales, increased from 5.4 months in Q4 2023 to 5.6 months in Q1 2024. 

Sales-to-New Listings Ratio 

The sales-to-new listings ratio dropped from 51.5% in Q4 2023 to 46.2% in Q1 2024, showing a relative decrease in demand compared to supply. This might mean some better opportunities for buyers.

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Price 

There was a slight decrease of 1.7% in prices quarter-over-quarter in the first quarter of 2024. However, year-over-year, the prices have risen by 4.4%. While there may be some current downward pressure on prices, the year-over-year price average, as well as average prices over the past several years, have been trending upwards.

Construction

Both quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year, there’s growth in the number of properties under construction, indicating some investment in housing development and future increases in supply. The Q1 2024 increase in under-construction properties was only a slight rise of 2.8% quarter-over-quarter, however, although the year-over-year increase of 19.5% was more significant.

Economic Indicators

Population Growth

BC’s population has been increasing, with a slight growth of 0.5% quarter-over-quarter in Q1 2024, and 3.3% year-over-year. This suggests a potentially continued demand for housing because of this population growth to support the market.

Unemployment Rate 

The unemployment rate remains unchanged at 5.5% in both Q4 2023 and Q1 2024. This suggests a certain, consistent level of economic activity and stability, which can increase consumer confidence and a willingness to enter the housing market.

Mortgage Arrears 

There’s a slight increase in mortgage arrears from 0.13% in Q4 2023 to 0.15% in Q1 2024. While this increase is relatively small, it does indicate financial strain among homeowners, potentially impacting their ability to maintain mortgage payments and raising concerns for the stability of the housing market.

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