2019 The Year in Review

Forecast for two per cent growth in detached home prices

All Bowen year-over-year real estate price metrics fell in 2019

Bowen Island real estate saw declines in all metrics year-over-year (YoY) at 31 December 2019, including the largest percentage drop in the MLS® Home Price Index since 2013 (-2.3 and -3.9 per cent respectively), in the Average Sale Price since 2013 (-11.3 and -1.5 per cent respectively), and in Median Sale Price since 2011 (-0.3 and -1.7 per cent respectively). 

The lowest annual number of sales YoY since 2010 (45 compared to 39) and annual dollar volume of sales since 2014 ($45.2 million compared to $44.3 million) were recorded in 2019; however, in the positive column, the Bowen market also saw a record YoY MLS® HPI high of $996,142 at 31 March 2019.

Price metrics were also down YoY from 31 December 2018 and, except for the MLS® HPI, down YoY from 2017; however, for buyers who purchased in 2016 or earlier, price metrics are up. Moving into 2020, most forecasters are projecting modest increases for detached homes. The BC Real Estate Association forecast for the REBGV is for a 14.5 per cent increase in number of sales and a 1.9 per cent increase in average price.1 Central 1 Credit Union forecasts a 6.0 per cent increase in number of sales and a 6.3 per cent increase in median sales price for the Vancouver CMA.2 Mortgage Sandbox looked at a number of forecasts and predicts “a modest rise of 2% each of the next two years.”3 Not everyone is predicting recovery: BC Business’s Steve Saretsky writes, “All bets are off.” He worries about “a pullback of foreign investment, policy changes and indebted households […] and near-record totals for units under construction.”4

The Bowen Island market typically lags a few months behind Metro Vancouver; however, during 2019, the Island outperformed every Metro Vancouver municipality from March through December with respect to YoY percentage increase in MLS® HPI (or benchmark price) and was among the top four municipalities registering MLS® HPI percentage increases throughout 2018.

Current low interest rates, price points that appeal to buyers squeezed by the mortgage stress test, the best value proposition for detached homes in Metro Vancouver when comparing lot size, sense of community, quality of schools, and safety, no speculation tax, and a relatively easy commute to downtown Vancouver should see the Island’s market perform within the range of forecasts for the mainland.

With most forecasts for prices to creep up, albeit slowly, and with inventory at the beginning of January 2020 at historic lows—only 3 months in the past 10 years have had lower inventories— those who have been waiting for the market to stabilize to either buy or sell will see an opportunity to act in 2020.

A 2 per cent increase would see pricing metrics return to 2018 levels, the highest in history.

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1 https://www.bcrea.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/housingforecast.pdf
2 Census Metropolitan Area. Area codes 604 / 778 / 236 / 672
3 https://www.mortgagesandbox.com/vancouver-real-estate-forecast
4 https://www.bcbusiness.ca/Property-Watch-BCs-2020-real-estate- forecast-is-decidedly-cloudy