The slump in Chilliwack real estate sales continues, but the price of what is selling doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Sales of all types of homes in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) last month were down a third from 303 in March 2018 to just 209 last month.
But the average selling price last month was $525,401, relatively unchanged from $527,126 a year ago.
The 209 sales for the third month of the year may seem low compared to last year, and even lower compared to the recent boom when there were 363 sales in March 2017 and 494 March 2016, but the figure for last month may represent more of a normalization of numbers.
Prior to the boom of 2016 there were 255 sales in March 2015, 183 in 2014, 188 in 2013, 200 in 2012, 188 in 2011 and 205 in 2010.
Last month’s sales were up from just 154 in February and a near-record low of 98 in January.
But all through that up-and-down period of sales over the last three years, prices continued to rise. In the peak of the recent boom in 2016, the average price of those 494 homes sold in March 2016 was just $384,356. In March 2017, the average price sold was $432,879.
At around an average sale price of $525,000 last month, the prices people are paying for homes in the CADREB area – which includes Chilliwack, Cultus Lake, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs, Hope and the rural areas in between – has remained steady for a year.
That, despite high home prices in the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) dropping. In the neighbouring FVREB, February’s average sale price of $700,542 was nearly a 10 per cent drop from $774,627 a year prior.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported sales totally 1,727 for last month was the lowest since 1986, and sky-high prices there are starting to creep down.
The slump in sales locally and across B.C. is blamed in part on soaring prices, but locally more on the new tougher mortgage rules and rising interest rates.
Last month in the CADREB area, 107 single family homes sold for an average price of $650,314, 55 townhouses sold for an average of $449,161, and 34 apartments sold for an average price of $245,211.
Seven homes sold in CADREB for more than $1 million last month.
There were 1,374 listings at the end of last month, which compares to just 827 year over year.
As for what’s ahead, the B.C. Real Estate Association (BCREA) forecasts the market to continue to adjust to the mortgage stress test. For CADREB, the forecast is a steadying of prices in 2019 compared to 2018, with another slight jump of 2.7 per cent for 2020.
The BCREA has urged the federal government to revisit the year-old stress test due to the pressure it’s putting on sales and the criticism that it’s making housing unaffordable for many.