Biggest investment drop is forecast to happen this year. (Central 1 Credit Union)

B.C. housing slump has begun to slow economy, credit union economists say

Central 1 not predicting recession, but ‘sharp contraction’ in construction

Government moves to put the brakes on B.C.’s urban housing costs are taking hold and are about to produce the biggest drop in residential construction since 2009, Central 1 Credit Union says in its latest forecast.

The drop in housing investment is projected to be nearly as large as the world-wide recession of 2009, but will not signal a recession in B.C. because of strength in other construction sectors, says B.C. Economic Outlook 2019-2021, a forecast by the organization representing credit unions in B.C. and Ontario.

Increasing population, new capital investment in public works and the LNG Canada liquefied natural gas project in northern B.C. are expected to keep unemployment low as housing construction slows, Central 1 forecasts.

“B.C.’s economy will slow over the next three years as the policy-induced housing market downturn weighs temporarily on growth,” the report says.

“The recent slump in housing demand and prices will trigger a sharp contraction in housing construction and the most pronounced drop in broader residential investment since 2009. Growth will trend in a range of 2.0 to 2.5 per cent over the next years and accelerate to 2.8 per cent in 2021.”

The federal government’s addition of a “stress test” for bank mortgages in 2018 has required borrowers to qualify their ability to pay if interest rates increase, after a long period of low rates led to personal debt rates rising. B.C. has focused on increased taxes for foreign buyers and second homes in urban areas that have low rental vacancy rates and high purchase prices.

READ MORE: Deadline looms to register to avoid speculation tax

READ MORE: Drop in fixed mortgage rates a ‘welcome cooling’

“Retrenchment has been significant in larger urban markets, which will curtail new home activity in 2019,” the report states. “Home sales have fallen to a multi-year low pace.”

Central 1 expects that B.C. exports will be a drag on growth, with the continued trade dispute between the U.S. and China and a general trend to trade protectionism internationally.

Retail sales rose “a mere two per cent last year following a 9.3 per cent increase in 2017 and 6.6 per cent gain in 2016, despite support from rising wages, solid labour market and population growth,” Central 1 says.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Indonesian artist coming for Quadra Island residency

Ipong Purnama Sidhi will arrive this week for one month stay with two local artists

B.C. group on the hunt for Cadboro Bay sea monster

British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club investigating reports of Cadborosaurus

Victoria arcade lands one of the ‘rarest games in the world’

More than 20 vintage games featured at Quazar’s Arcade

Mommy’s Inside Voice: Ice cream can soothe even the worst days

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a biweekly column by Amie Jay, a Vancouver Island mother of three

Behind the pump: Multiple factors causing high gas prices in B.C.

This summer is shaping up to be a long and painful one at the gas pumps

Kelowna RCMP interrogation video brings home reality in ‘visceral way’: former TRC chairman

Video of Mountie interrogating young Indigenous woman disclosing sexual abuse under fire

B.C. ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

Update: Mother dead, child in critical condition after carbon monoxide poisoning at Shuswap campground

The woman was found unresponsive insider her tent and the youth was taken via air ambulance to hospital

Canada’s parole officers say correctional system has reached breaking point

About half of Canada’s federal parole officers work inside penitentiaries and correctional institutions

Montreal researchers create audible hockey puck for visually impaired players

Three years ago, Gilles Ouellet came up with the idea for a puck that makes a continuous sound

Former B.C. Greyhound bus drivers head to Penticton for goodbye party

Big bash runs until Sunday, funded by drink cans left behind on busses over the years

Boy, 12, arrested after allegedly pulling a knife on another child at a Surrey park

The child was later released into his parents’ custody as Surrey RCMP continue their investigation

Full-scale search underway for missing kayaker on Okanagan Lake

Kelowna Paddle Centre member Zygmunt Janiewicz, 71, failed to return from his ‘daily kayak’ on the lake

Bucks hammer Raptors 125-103 to take 2-0 playoff series lead

Toronto heads home in a hole after second loss to Milwaukee

Most Read