VANCOUVER - Slower job growth in British Columbia's economy will mean slower increases in home sales and property values through to 2012, the B.C. Real Estate Association said Thursday.
And by the end of 2012, the association expects the high-flying prices in some of B.C.'s bigger markets to show small declines.
Home sales through the realtor-controlled Multiple Listing Service should hit 74,640 by the end of 2011, which is up four per cent from 2010, and then rise to 80,300 in 2012, association chief economist Cameron Muir said in his report.
However, those estimates are below B.C.'s long-term average for sales and the forecast for 2011 represents reduced expectations from Muir's forecast from earlier this year that B.C. should see 78,200 sales this year.
"Following a decade where unit sales broke all records, consumer demand for the next few years will be relatively moderate," Muir said in releasing the report.
A positive note, however, is that weaker global economic growth and uncertainty in world financial markets are signals that interest rates, including mortgage rates, will remain low and "help underpin housing demand."
Across the province, Muir is forecasting that the average home price, which has been heavily influenced by strong sales in the more expensive pockets of Metro Vancouver, to hit $559,179 by the end of 2011.
However, by the end of 2012, Muir is forecasting that the average price will fall back 2.5 per cent to $545,964.
The 2012 price declines, however, are expected to show up primarily in the Lower Mainland Markets, which influence the overall provincial averages.
Muir expects Metro Vancouver's average price to slip 3.5 per cent in 2012 to $742,000. However, that will be a decline off 2011, which Muir predicts will end with the average price having shot up 14 per cent to $769,000.
And Muir is forecasting that the Fraser Valley will see its average price in 2012 dip 1.4 per cent to $498,000. But that follows 2011, where he expects the average price will have gained 12 per cent from the previous year to hit $505,000.