Chilliwack – Housing sales in Chilliwack and area closed with a flourish as the New Year was beckoned in. However, with hints of interest rate increases and tightening of mortgage qualification, the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB) is interested to see if any governmental incentives are on the horizon.
December recorded 204 home sales, up substantially from 165 sales for the same month a year earlier. This reflected a full year of strong sales, monthly and annually.
“This may have been due to it being the last month of the less stringent mortgage qualifications,” said Greg Nord-Leth, CADREB President. “Beginning this month, it is a much stricter ‘stress test’ to qualify for a mortgage. It will be based not only on what potential home owners can afford now, but what they would be able to afford if the interest rate goes up.”
Two things remained constant over the past year – strong sales, and low inventory. At the end of last month, there were just over 600 current listings. With 181 new listings coming on the local market last month, sales outpaced new listings.
At 46 sales, apartment/condominium sales almost doubled December of 2017, a strong indicator of first-time buyers. The highest number of homes sold (20) were in the $400,000-$449,999 range, followed by 18 sales each in the $450,000-$499,999 and $500,000-$549,999 ranges. There were 6 home sales over the $1 million mark.
Despite tougher mortgage qualification, the local Board remains optimistic about the coming year.
“We continue to see migration from the larger cities west of us, as home ownership in the pricier metropolitan areas are unattainable for many first-time and move-up buyers. Also, when Spring new construction ramps up, we may see some price correction because of increased supply,” added Mr. Nord-Leth. “We are also watching for any provincial or federal incentives to help offset the effects of the newly tightened mortgage qualifications”.
The CADREB President also noted that with property assessments having recently gone out, many homeowners were surprised by the rise in their property value. While assessments are not directly linked to listing prices, it does spur many homeowners to consider listing their property.