CMHC says Vancouver market no longer ‘highly vulnerable’ as price acceleration eases

Canadian Real Estate Association projects that the national average price will drop 0.6 per cent

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has lowered the vulnerability rating of Vancouver’s housing market to ”moderate,” marking the first change in three years as prices have eased.

The federal agency says in a report that “evidence of price acceleration” in Vancouver has eased to low, prompting a downrating after 12 consecutive quarters of being flagged as “highly vulnerable.”

“While home price growth over the past few years significantly outpaced levels supported by fundamentals, these imbalances have narrowed through growth in fundamentals and lower home prices in different segments of the resale market,” CMHC said in its latest Housing Market Assessment report.

The agency said a moderate degree of vulnerability remains at the national level, but imbalances between house prices and housing market fundamentals have narrowed over the past year. However, certain markets such as Toronto and Victoria are at higher risk.

Nationally, the inflation-adjusted average price decreased 5.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 from the same period a year earlier, the fifth-consecutive decline on a year-over-year basis, CMHC said.

READ MORE: B.C. housing sales predicted to slow, prices to fall in 2019

In the previous quarter’s report, CMHC lowered its rating for Canada’s overall housing market from to moderate from high vulnerability — where it had stood for 10 consecutive quarters — as mortgage stress tests introduced last year made it harder for homebuyers to qualify and eased price acceleration.

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s latest market forecast released in June projects that the national average price will drop 0.6 per cent by the end of this year to roughly $485,000, compared to the 4.1 per cent drop recorded in 2018.

However, the pattern is split between the eastern and western parts of the country. For example, while average prices are forecast to fall in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan, higher prices are expected in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Dropping housing prices are a particularly welcome sight in Vancouver, which was cited in January as the second-least affordable major housing market in the world out of 91 markets by urban planning company Demographia. Vancouver came second to Hong Kong, but was less affordable than the likes of San Francisco and London, U.K.

The latest statistics from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver showed that the benchmark price of a home in Metro Vancouver dropped to $998,700 in June, the first time it fell below the $1 million mark since May 2017.

The Bank of Canada in May also said that housing prices in the key markets of Vancouver and Toronto have cooled, but imbalances in real estate markets are still an important vulnerability for the overall financial system.

CMHC’s bases its vulnerability assessment on several criteria including price acceleration, overvaluation, overbuilding, and overheating. It examines the degree of vulnerability and is intended to identify imbalances in the housing market.

Toronto, Hamilton and Victoria continue to have a high degree of vulnerability, but overheating, price acceleration and overvaluation show signs of abating in all three markets.

Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Regina and Winnipeg have moderate vulnerability, but evidence of overbuilding remains.

Ottawa, Quebec City, Halifax, St. John’s, N.L., Montreal, Moncton, N.B., all have low overall vulnerability. However, overheating persists in Montreal and Moncton while overbuilding remains in St. John’s, CMHC added.

For the second consecutive quarter, moderate evidence of overvaluation continues to be the only sign of vulnerability for Canada as a whole, said CMHC’s chief economist Bob Dugan.

“Imbalances between house prices and housing market fundamentals have narrowed with declining home prices in the resale market and a growing pool of potential first-time homebuyers,” he said in a statement. “This dynamic contributes to closing the overvaluation gap.”

Armina Ligaya, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Letter: Allen Way rail crossing proposed in 1980

Pitt Meadows mayor at time wanted it at north Bonson.

Maple Ridge group gives back to northern places

Teaching how to grow in isolated First Nations reserves

Maple Ridge school hosts FIRST LEGO competition

Students build and program LEGO MINDSTORMS to find solutions to city landscape designs

Votto, Morneau want Hall of Fame recognition for Larry Walker

Larry Walker’s number will be retired on April 19 at Coors Field

Slideshow: Maple Ridge’s winter wonderland waterways

PHOTOS: Water and wildlife at the Alouette River, Fraser River and Whonnock Lake

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Most Read