Photo: Christopher Czermak / Unsplash

Despite historically low inventory, housing demand remains high in British Columbia and prices are expected to continue climbing, according to the British Columbia Real Estate Association’s (BCREA) 2022 first quarter market forecast.

“Strong sales should persist through the first few months of the year and supply will remain severely limited,” said BCREA chief economist Brendon Ogmundson. “As a result, we expect to see continued upward pressure on home prices in all markets.”

But which market expects to see prices rise the most in 2022? The Kootenay region — anchored by Nelson to the west and Cranbrook to the east — is forecast to see the province’s biggest price growth in 2022, with an average Multiple Listing Service (MLS) price of $508,000, a 12.8 per cent increase from 2021 ($450,466).

“As increasing average prices are directly linked to falling inventory, I don’t see any reduction in the upward pressure on average prices any time soon,” said Bruce Seitz, Kootenay Association of Realtors president. “Sellers will continue to benefit from the high demand for homes in the Kootenay region through 2022.”

Kamloops follows close behind, with a projected increase of 12.6 per cent for an average MLS price of $630,000, while Victoria is forecast to see average prices rise 11.4 per cent to exceed the $1 million mark.

Fuelled by buyers shifting east across the Lower Mainland, Chilliwack saw the province’s fastest price growth during 2021, increasing a whopping 26.2 per cent to $728,146. The BCREA forecasts 10.6 per cent growth this year to $805,000

Vancouver Island rounds out the top five, with anticipated price growth of 9.2 per cent pushing the average MLS price from $664,149 to $725,000.

While demand should remain high in the short term, the housing market is expected to see more balanced conditions this year. The BCREA is forecasting a total of 103,250 transaction during 2022, a 17 per cent decline from last year’s record-setting sales totals.

“Slower sales activity will allow the inventory of resale listings to rebuild, but given how low listings currently are, it will take considerable time before markets can return to a healthy balance,” Ogmundson said. “In fact, active listings in most markets need to more than double to bring markets back into balance.”

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