Despite the widespread mobility restrictions brought about by the coronavirus outbreak, the frequency of homebuying inquiries has gone up in Western Canada, according to RE/MAX.
“We are already seeing inquiries from home buyers up 5% from pre-COVID levels,” said Elton Ash, executive vice president (Western Canada) with RE/MAX. “To see the price drop that CMHC is suggesting is unrealistic.”
Ash was referring to the Crown corporation’s dire predictions of a “historic recession” this year that will lead to an 18% fall-off in home prices and a 29% sales decline – forecasts that multiple industry players have contested.
“Yes, there has been some economic pain, but not to the extent that CMHC is suggesting,” Ash said, pointing at Vancouver’s robust pre-pandemic sales as a likely sign of strong sales recovery down the line.
Pent-up demand for homes might become the defining feature of top markets like BC and Ontario immediately after the crisis has passed, RE/MAX said in early May.
Figures from the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) supported these projections: In April, the province’s benchmark housing price posted a 7.8% annual increase, while overall inventory fell by almost 25%.
“We should be happy sales only fell by 50% when you consider this is a global pandemic,” BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson told Business in Vancouver.