More disposable income, tight supply keep B.C. housing market strong despite COVID-19: report

Death, taxes and this province's real estate industry, apparently.

Credit: BC Assessment on Twitter

Not even a global pandemic can keep the province’s real estate industry down

The British Columbia Real Estate Association‘s latest report, The Unusual World of Pandemic Economics, seems to contradict its title. Or maybe that’s the point.

In any case, the hammering that many parts of the economy have seen thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been felt by the province’s real estate industry, at least according to the BCREA.

“Looking at recent data in the housing market, it would be difficult to tell there was a recession at all,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson in a release. “In a typical recession, we would see falling demand and rising supply, but this recession is anything but typical.”

The report points to uneven job losses across sectors, an increase in many households’ rate of savings, swift government aid, a tighter-than-ever housing supply and low interest rates as the drivers behind B.C.’s recent housing market highs.

Notably, high-income households have been much less affected by the crisis than middle- or lower income families. Household savings and disposable income have also increased, with the latter jumping 11 percent from the first quarter of 2020 to the second, according to the report.

With people not as keen to show their homes or move during the pandemic, supply has shrunk, too, creating some pent-up demand.

The BCREA’s current prediction for 2020 MLS sales is in the 80,000 range, which would beat 2019’s tally of 77,331. The group is also predicting a massive bump for next year.

“We expect home sales will sustain this momentum into 2021, aided by record-low mortgage rates and a recovering economy,” noted Ogmundson.