A new report from the British Columbia Real Estate Association predicts that BC home sales will rise in 2013.

Residential sales in B.C. are forecast to edge down four per cent to 73,499 units in 2012. However, the decline is expected to be short lived. “Strong full-time employment growth in the first half of the year, combined with persistently low mortgage interest rates, [will] boost consumer confidence and unit sales in 2013,” notes the report.

Consumer demand has strengthened in the interior and northern markets and the report forecasts a 15 per cent increase in both the BC Northern Board and the Okanagan Mainline this year.

In 2011, average house data for Vancouver was artificially skewed due to a wave of detached home sales in the priciest neighbourhoods. The BCREA does not believe this anomaly will be repeated this year. As a result, home prices are expected to remain relatively stable during 2012 and 2013.

As for housing starts, it’s expected that there will be a 1.5 per cent increase from 2011 to 26,800 units this year. The report notes that “after climbing significantly in 2011, multiple starts are forecast to rise 2 per cent to 17,900 units this year and a further 3 per cent to 18,500 units in 2013.”

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