2006 BC MLS® Sales Second Highest On Record

Vancouver, BC ? January 18, 2007.

British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) figures indicate the residential sales volume on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC reached $37.8 billion in 2006, up 7 per cent from 2005. MLS® home sales declined 9 per cent to 96,695 units in 2006, from a record 106,290 unit sales in 2005. While BC home sales declined last year, 2006 posted the second-highest number of transactions ever recorded.

?Despite strong job growth, low unemployment and rising wages, homes sales slowed in the province during the second half of 2006,? said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. ?The housing market is adjusting to an affordability squeeze resulting from high home prices.? The average MLS® residential sales price in the province climbed 18 per cent to $390,760 in 2006, from $332,137 in 2005. Last month, the average MLS® residential sales price hit $401,078, up 13 per cent from December 2005.

?Fewer first-time buyers and investors, and a modest increase in number of listings, has trended the BC housing market toward balanced conditions,? added Muir. Sales to active listings in the province fell from 27 per cent in December 2005 to 17 per cent in December 2006, indicating a shift from a strong sellers? market to the upper band of a balanced market.

?Market fundamentals are expected to remain strong through 2007,? noted Muir. ?A robust provincial economy combined with forecasted interest rate stability will keep home sales above their long-term average.? BCREA forecasts 93,600 BC MLS® residential sales in 2007, down 3 per cent from 2006. ?The erosion of affordability will slow this year,? added Muir. ?The average home price in BC is forecast to climb 7 per cent to $419,000 in 2007.?

In December, MLS® residential sales volume in BC declined 13 per cent to $1.77 billion. MLS® home sales in the province fell to 4,402 units last month from 5,701 units in December 2005, a decline of 23 per cent. ?Poor weather in BC?s major markets adversely impacted December?s sales activity,? noted Muir.