Home sales in Burnaby have trended down slightly since the summer started but have remained fairly stable overall, says an economist with the B.C. Real Estate Association.
"We'll probably start to see some listings come off the market in the summer and have kind of a stable market from then on," Brendon Ogmundson told the NOW. "Burnaby, last year, it had a pretty decent run at the beginning of the summer, and we are looking at slightly lighter activity this summer, though still fairly strong."
Townhouse sales have been flat for most of the year, while apartment sales and prices have been stable, he said.
Ogmundson said it's difficult to say what was driving Metro Vancouver's market last year and what's pushing it in the other direction this year. Interest rates are still low, the economy is doing fairly well and job creation improved this year, he said.
Ogmundson noted immigration numbers are down, but added that fewer people coming into the country would have a "lagged effect" because they often don't purchase real estate when they first arrive.
The long-term forecast for Metro Vancouver is for the number of sales to fall seven per cent this year, and for home prices to drop three to four per cent this year and then flatten out next year, Ogmundson said, but noted that different areas will experience different drops.
"When you look into conditions right now in Vancouver, they're roughly in balance," he said. "There's nothing to get too excited about a balanced market over the balance of the year.
"Within the different regions in Vancouver, there will be very different experiences. - there's still people buying in Burnaby. There's just a lot less activity in some of the bigger parts, and those are the neighbourhoods that have more of an impact on the overall numbers."
New mortgage rules that went into effect last week may also impact real estate sales.
"They target first time homebuyers that make up a large part of the market," Ogmundson said.
The rules mean lenders can only issue home equity loans up to a maximum of 80 per cent of a property's value - down from 85 per cent. The maximum amortization period also drops to 25 years from 30 years. The federal government is capping the maximum debt ratios for households and limiting government insurance to mortgages on houses that cost under $1 million.