All right, just a little snark in the headline.
This is the situation. Vancouver is approaching zero % growth, year on year. [See Vancouver Price Change Graph] It just so happens it is approaching this point around April 2011, which corresponds with the peak month of this bull market in 2010. According to the Vancouver Board of Realtors HCI for detached properties, there has never been a higher month for prices than April 2010. Zero percent growth on $818,000 will be $818,000. If April 2011 is higher than that, then the market's decline is slowing, if it is lower than that, then the market has entered negative growth and I expect a real sentiment shift to begin.
If the HCI is $818,000 for April 2011, no doubt the sellers of used houses will be dancing in the streets. Over the next few months denial will continue to be easy for those wanting to believe their net worth really is as inflated as the real estate and banking industry wants them to believe. But in reality a second peak of $818,000 will mark the end of the growth in prices.
So, to recap: Yes, prices will continue to rise. The trends predict they will rise. We are still at positive growth (just barely) year on year, and this growth gets to play out against the highest months of prices from the previous year.
Then the double whammy arrives. Demand pulled forward by the 60 day delay in mortgage rule changes will make February and March a little better, and then in April and May, the subsequent reduced demand will work in concert with the reduced "affordability" to grind things down lower.