B.C. Continues Multi-Year Decline of First-Time Homebuyers

British Columbia is running out of first-time buyers, despite falling prices. Government of British Columbia filings show first-time homebuyers made a small increase in June, compared to the month before. However, this increase wasn’t big enough to reach last year’s levels. The province continues the multi-year trend of declining first-time homebuyers.

B.C. First-Time Homebuyers Drop Over 15%

B.C. saw a mild bounce in first-time buyers last month, but the number in the province is still on the slide. There were 1,115 first-time buyer’s in June, up 38.3% from the month before. However, this number is still down 15.1% compared to the same month last year. A lot higher than the month before, but still not close to clearing last year’s number.

B.C. First-Time Homebuyers

The number of first-time homebuyers in B.C. per month.

Source: Government of B.C., Better Dwelling.

The decline is a small improvement from the month before, some of it may be delayed demand. Since the beginning of the pandemic, first-time buyers have been on the slide. It wasn’t until May when a massive 38.3% decline hit the market. The bump in June is likely some buyers delayed from the month before. However, this won’t be clear until a few months down the road.

First-Time Buyers Have Declined For Several Years

The pandemic did contribute to the decline, but this is a much more long-term trend. There were 5,517 first-time buyers year-to-date (YTD) in BC, down 7.85% compared to the same period last month. In 2019 though, the YTD sales during the same period were down 8.5% from a year before. Home prices in Greater Vancouver, the province’s largest market, peaked in 2018.

B.C. started the year with more first-time buyers, but that was quickly derailed by the pandemic. There was a small bounce last month, but it wasn’t even close to meeting last year’s levels. The first-time buyer drop isn’t due entirely to the pandemic, since this has been a multi-year trend.

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  • George 4 years ago

    You mean first-time money launderers disappeared?

    • GTA Landlord 4 years ago

      Money laundering mostly disappeared when it came on the radar of the federal government. Why launder in BC if you can launder in Ontario with zero resistance?

  • KG 4 years ago

    Household income of $80k = $475k mortgage @ 2%. A first-time buyer needs a downpayment of $300k to make that work in BC, or almost 4x gross household wages. Near impossible to buy unless you have rich parents.

    • Whiskey Foxtrot 4 years ago

      The “average” or median household doesn’t need to buy in this market. Wealthier, six-figure first-time buyers could easily support this volume. There’s enough rich young people that can support this market for years at this price level.

  • Jessie Cass 4 years ago

    So if first-time buyers are disappearing, the foreign buyer narrative is correct?

    • Whiskey Foxtrot 4 years ago

      No, these are regular buyers that just have a little extra money and are upgrading. Everyone thinks they’ll sell their condo apartment or become a landlord a little later, and never have to work again.

  • S 4 years ago

    I’m wondering what effect skyrocketing strata insurance rates are having on potential first time buyers who might be able to afford a $650k condo but can’t drop $1mil+ on a single family home. Who in their right mind is buy condos right now knowing that insurance is going to double, or more?

  • Aurora 4 years ago

    First-time home buyers are decreasing because it is so hard for most to get into this market. I hear from many people (in their 30’s) that even with a professional job they don’t qualify for a high enough mortgage with only 10-20% down even though their mortgage payment would be less than what they are currently paying in rent. I don’t believe the number is declining due to not enough out their wanting to buy, but because they simply can’t. I

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