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

Komatsu announces plans for $40M, 85k-square-foot facility in Sparwood

Komatsu Mining Corp. has announced plans to develop a new 85,000-square-foot sales… Continue reading

Former Fernie Ghostrider re-signs with Vancouver Canucks

Josh Teves has signed a two-year contract with the NHL team

Motor vehicle incident in Sparwood results in death of dump truck driver

An individual has died after the dump truck they were driving went… Continue reading

Fernie chainsaw carver wins big at Logger Days

Michael Penny placed 3rd at Powell River Logger Sports, last weekend

UPDATED: RCMP confirm one death in accident

Two motorcycles ran into the back of a vehicle towing a boat trailer on highway near Cranbrook

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read