Vancouver home prices to decline in 2012

But by the end of 2011, the average residential price in the province will already be 11.8% higher than a year ago, up to $564,600 this year, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), which released its fourth quarter housing forecast today.

The association predicts the price will then drop 2.5% in 2012, down to $550,500.

“Moderate consumer demand combined with larger inventories of homes for sale means B.C. housing markets will experience little upward pressure on home prices through 2012,” said BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir.

In Vancouver, average home prices have risen annually more than 10% six times in the past seven years. The only exception was 2009, when prices dipped less than 1%. But in 2012, Greater Vancouver will experience its largest drop in more than a decade, slipping 3.5% from $782,000 to $755,000, according to the BCREA’s prediction.

But that decline would come from detached homes, as apartments will gain 1.1% in price in 2012 to reach $462,000, said the report.

An exception to the BC real estate gains in recent years has been Kootenay. The average home price there has declined for two straight years, and the trend will continue for another two years in 2011 and 2012, said the report, noting a deteriorated economic outlook and decline in investor activity. The average Kootenay home price in 2011 will be $270,000, said the report, down 1.9% from 2010.

Victoria is predicted to have the biggest rebound in 2012. Unit sales were down 19.5% in 2010, and will be down 7.2% by the end of this year. But they will pick up 8.3% in 2012 to 6,200, slightly more than the 6,169 in 2010. Prices in Victoria will remain below the $504,561 average in 2010, however, slipping to $499,000 this year, then up to $501,000 in 2012.

“The Victoria market is being impacted by slower growth in employment, reduced interprovincial migration flows and continuing weakness in US tourism,” said the report.

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