Residents forecast stable housing prices in new year: Poll

More than half of residents in Abbotsford believe home prices will stay the same in 2012, according to a Mustel Research Group poll.

More than half of residents in Abbotsford and Chilliwack believe home prices will stay the same in 2012, according to a Mustel Research Group poll.

The survey, released Dec. 30, reported 56 per cent of local respondents believed the cost of a new home would remain stable, while 36 per cent believed prices would rise in the new year. Eight per cent said prices would decrease.

Responses from Abbotsford/Chilliwack residents were similar to the rest of the Fraser Valley. Fifty-four per cent of Lower Mainlanders believe prices will remain the same, while 33 per cent expect an increase and 13 per cent project lower prices.

The biggest divergence comes from Vancouver, where less than half of respondents – 43 per cent – believed home prices would remain stable. Forty per cent predicted a price increase and 17 per cent said prices would drop.

“The general outlook in the public is pretty positive,” said Sukh Sidhu, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and an Abbotsford realtor.

He said the realtors he speaks with share this sense of optimism – and not without reason. Real estate sales were up five per cent in 2011 compared with 2010 in the Fraser Valley board’s coverage area, which includes Abbotsford, Mission, Langley, Surrey, White Rock and Delta.

What’s more, the dollar volume of sales rose 18 per cent in 2011, and was close to $743 million.

“We were quite impressed with the dollar volume,” said Sidhu. “The people are buying.”

Sidhu noted he is not an economist, and is not qualified to make predictions about the financial state of the province, but he too predicts a solid real estate market in the Lower Mainland in 2011.