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.

Just Posted

Runners brave wet, windy weather for Ucluelet’s 20th Edge to Edge

“The spirit of the runners I have nothing but compliments.”

ELECTION 2019: NDP’s Gord Johns re-elected in Courtenay-Alberni

Conservative Byron Horner finishes second, with Green Party’s Sean Wood third

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results from our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

VIDEO: Is the stethoscope dying? High-tech options pose threat

World-renowned cardiologist believes the device is just a pair of ‘rubber tubes’

VIDEO: Chill with polar bears through an Arctic live cam

Cam reopens just ahead of Polar Bear Week

Aquilini companies deny negligence in U.S. vineyard fire that killed two kids

Fire occurred at Red Mountain Vineyard, located in southeast Washington State

Surrey cop killer gets new parole conditions

Surrey RCMP Constable Roger Pierlet, 23, was shot dead on March 29, 1974

Former Kelowna Hells Angels associate could be deported, court rules

David Revell has lost his fight against deportation from Canada

Alcohol available onboard BC Ferries starting Thursday

Beer and wine sales begin at 11 a.m. on select Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay sailings

‘Find Trevor’: B.C. man’s dog leads searchers to rescue him after fall during hike

‘I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself’

15 Canadian youths to sue Ottawa for not acting on climate change

They say young people will be more affected than other groups

Most Read