Brace for an interesting year in the housing market


As the Metro Vancouver housing market comes off a record sales year, we are entering what could be the most interesting 12 months this region has ever seen. The term ‘interesting’ can be seen in relation to the age-old curse of “may you live in interesting times,” but we believe it will also be a blessing because the blinders that have obscured some real estate realities will be ripped away in 2022.

The first expose will be that Canada does not have the supply or the political gumption to provide the housing needed for the biggest surge in immigration this country has ever seen.


The second expose will be that the federal government continues to look at ways to tax homes in Canada as evidenced by a recent CMHC study to add an annual tax on homes valued above $1M, will they slap a capital gains tax on the sale of principal residences next, despite its strenuous denials?

The final reality that every home buyer, seller and renter in Metro Vancouver will face is that the cost of housing here is never going to come down, despite the barriers to demand that every level of government has thrown up over the past 10 years.

It is up to the private market – that is you, me and everyone else who aspires to homeownership – to prepare and prosper in a future characterized by a low supply of housing, greater property taxation and accelerating land and property values.

It won’t be easy, but Metro Vancouver has never been an affordable market. Yet it has remained Canada’s leading residential environment for decades.  There is nowhere better to live in Canada and it certainly has no match when it comes to achieving real estate success.

Let’s look at immigration. According to Statistics Canada, this country absorbed 123,000 immigrants in the third quarter of 2021 alone: the highest level for any quarter since 1946, at the end of World War II. For all of 2021, Canada welcomed 403,000 new residents. To put this in perspective, the United States brought in only 300,000 immigrants for all of last year. Due to immigration, Canada now has the fastest-growing population of all G7 Nations.

If former immigration surges are any indication, up to 30% of newcomers to Canada will immediately or eventually – usually within two years – locate to B.C. and 95% of these will come to Metro Vancouver.
But the supply of housing in Metro Vancouver has fallen to record low levels and, due primarily to local governments, construction of new homes is not keeping pace with the current population, let alone meeting the needs of a hundred thousand newcomers every year.

Considering the lowest we have seen the number of Greater Vancouver active listings go in the last 30 years was 6,200, to hit below 5,000 is truly astonishing. Criticize the supply side discussions all you want but a fundamental flaw in the Metro Vancouver and many other real estate markets that we are experiencing right now is a significant lack of homes. Demand side measures clearly are not the long-term answer. At some point there needs to be real effort to increase supply and allow it to be increased in a meaningful way. And yes, the right kind of supply. We can’t keep wishing for it, there needs to be real work behind any kind of resolution to this issue.

As of December 1, 2021, only 6,000 more homes had started construction in Metro Vancouver than in the same period a year ago in 2020. Townhouse construction increased by just 98 units; and starts of detached houses fell by 300 homes. The only big increase was in apartments, but 30% of the 17,745 units started in 2021 were rentals, not strata homes.

This is despite a federal housing ministry pronouncement back in January 2021 that “We have a rock-steady focus on increasing the supply of housing in Canada.”

Of course, it is local municipalities that really decide how many homes will be built. And that is where the problem lies. Not to belabour the point, here is a snapshot for Metro Vancouver of some recent  development non-decisions.
 
Vancouver: In 2016 the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan was approved, and the late and iconic Vancouver architect Bing Thom presented plans for the anchor development, his last big proposal, The plan now has been scaled back to 438 secured rental units, including 93 units at below-market rates, and 215 strata residential units, all across from the Broadway-Commercial SkyTrain hub. After three presentations and revisions over four years, the proposal has now been sent for future public hearings. “We have not received rezoning approval,” a developer spokesperson said in December 2021. “We have no idea when it will come.”

As of December 1, 2021, the City of Vancouver had seen total starts of less than 5,000 homes for the year, just 1,500 more than a year earlier, and 90% of 2021 starts were apartments. Only 135 new strata townhomes have started in Vancouver in the past two years.
 
North Vancouver District. The development of the Maplewood Town Centre was included in the 2006 official community plan. Five years ago, a plan was submitted by two major developers for 535 homes, including 80 below-market rentals. In December 2021, the entire proposal was voted down by District council.
A proposal to develop 420 housing units, half of them rentals at below market rates, in Lynn Canyon has been submitted three times to District council starting nearly two years ago. As of December 2021, it was referred to another round of public hearings.

As of December 1, 2021, North Vancouver District has posted just 423 housing starts, down from 611 in the same period in 2020. Only 17 townhouses were started in 2021.
 
West Vancouver: Council recently voted down an eight-story condo building with seven strata units. It would have been the first-ever zero emission, mass-timber housing development in the district.
 
Burnaby:  First presented under the official community plan in 1988, the Bainbridge Urban Village Community Plan and the Lochdale Urban Village Community Plan, meant to increase density around the Sperling SkyTrain station and Hastings Street, began consultations in 2020.The Latest update indicates that final plan to council sometime this year, subject to more public hearings.
 

Highlights of the December 2021 housing market report:

 

  • West Side detached housing prices may have
    peaked for now at $3.4 million
     

  • Immigration has hit the highest level since the
    end of World War II
     

  • Richmond is considering “rental only" zoning

 

A summary of the amazing numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in December were 2,737 – down from 3,492 (22%) in November 2021, down 23% from October 2021 and down 13% from December 2020, due totally to a lack of listings.
For all of 2021 sales totaled 43,999 homes, a 42.2% increase from the 30,944 sales recorded in 2020, and a 4% increase over the previous all-time sales record set in 2015. Last year’s sales total was 33.4% above the 10-year sales average.

The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ended the year at $1,230,200. This was a 17.3% increase compared to December 2020. Both detached home and townhome benchmark prices leaped 22% last year, while condo apartment prices increased 12.8% from year earlier.

The price increases are being fueled by the housing shortage, and the shortage is because of rising prices. The benchmark price of a detached house in Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler is now more than $2 million. It is over $1.8 million in North Vancouver, Port Moody and most of Burnaby, and has reached $1,756,700, up nearly 30% from a year ago in the Lower Mainland. Sticker-shocked home owners are reluctant to list their home because they don’t know where they can afford to move to. New listings in December were down 51% compared to November 2021 and 20% lower than in December 2020.

Meanwhile, buyers are eager to purchase in a market where the average detached house is increasing in value by $35,000 per month. The result is multiple offers with December’s sales-to-new-listing ratio at a startling 138%, up from 87% in November 2021 and 127% in December 2020. Basically, every new listing sold in December and the total inventory was further whittled down. In some communities, the inventory of homes for sales in now measured in days, not months.

The bottom line: buyers will continue to struggle in 2022. We will see a rush of new listings in January and into the spring, despite COVID conditions. But given the hole we are starting from; it won’t be enough. Immigration has hit record levels. A large supply of housing is absolutely vital to meet the needs of a growing population and our expanding economy.
 
Fraser Valley: Home sales in the Fraser Valley in 2021, with 27,692 transactions, blew past the previous annual record of 23,974 sales set in 2016 and were 39% higher than in 2020. Unlike Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley also saw a rush of new listings, with 35,629 added – the second highest on record and 12.4% more than in 2020, but demand quickly ate up the supply.

In December 2021, 1,808 homes sold second only to December 2020’s record‐setting 2,086 sales. New listings in December were 1,278. By month’s end, however, the active inventory finished at 1,957 units, the lowest in 41 years. The year ended with detached house prices up 39% from a year earlier at a benchmark of $1.5 million; townhouse prices up 32.9% to $765,800; and condo apartment prices 25.3% higher at $549,200.
 
Vancouver Westside: We may be seeing peak prices, at least through the next few months, for detached houses right now on the Westside of Vancouver, with December’s benchmark at $3,433,600. Detached house prices are up 8.2% from a year ago, but have been declining steadily for the past six months. The Westside was the only sub-market where detached house prices were actually lower, down 0.4%, in December than five years earlier.

For those who see the Westside as a bellwether market, this could be a harbinger for detached house prices. Just 79 detached houses sold in December, down from 100 in November 2021 and 84 in December 2020, in part a reaction to a low supply. With only 82 new listings of houses added in the month, December’s sales-to-new listing ratio was 96%. More listings would have boosted sales, but one wonders if price resistance is in play. Total Westside home sales reached 468 in December, down 28% from a month earlier and 4% below December of last year. Total listings in December were down 54% compared to November 2021 and down 6% compared to December 2020. The action is now dominated by condo apartment sales, which reached 344 transactions in December to post a sizzling 128% sales-to-listing ratio, despite benchmark condo prices rising to $842,900. The townhouse inventory is close to vanishing: there were 47 new listings in December and 45 sales; driving the median townhouse price to $1,650,000, up about $340,000 from a year earlier.
 
Vancouver East Side: It takes a few minutes to drive from the heart of the Westside to the centre of Vancouver’s East Side but the short journey was a $1.7 million migrations for a December house buyer. The benchmark house price on the East Side as 2021 ended was $1,770,100, almost exactly half the price of a Westside house. This is perhaps the widest price-to-proximity gap in the Lower Mainland. It helps explain why nearly 1,800 East Side houses sold in 2021, compared to 1,210 on the Westside and why the benchmark East Side detached house price increased 23.9% in the past year while it increased just 8.6% on the Westside. The East Side saw the sales-to-listing ratio for detached houses hit 125% in December, showing the price pressure will likely increase going into 2020. East Side condo apartments may offer the best deal in Greater Vancouver for those seeking some level of affordability. The median East Side condo price in December was $618,500, lower than in Burnaby, the North Shore or Coquitlam and about $200,000 less than on the Westside. East Vancouver, however, is also seeking a housing shortage, with total active listings at year-end of 690 homes, down from 921 in November.

North Vancouver: Despite all the handwringing about rising home prices, BC Assessment data shows that demand is driving prices even higher in prime neighbourhoods. For instance, assessment values for homes on the exclusive Dollarton waterfront and in Grousewoods in North Vancouver were up 30% over the past year, while they increased just 16% in more affordable Norgate and Pemberton. Across all of North Vancouver, the composite home price in December was up 14.2% from a year earlier to $1,273,100, while the typical detached house price was $1,968,000, up 15.6% year-over-year. New Listings in December were down 58% compared to November 2021 and down 26% compared to December 2020.Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month with the sales-to-listing ratio at a stunning 163%.

West Vancouver: Total housing sales in December were down 23% from a month earlier to 62 transactions, as new listings dropped 67% compared to November 2021, and 25% from December 2020. There is now about a six-month supply – 371 active listings – on the market, but the December sales to listing ratio was running at 124%. The benchmark detached house price is $3,224,500, up 13.1% from December of 2020. The big gain is in Ambleside, where the typical house price rose an average of 34% over last year, according to B.C. Assessment.

Richmond: Richmond is considering ‘rental-only zoning’ of 60 rental properties to discourage the potential development of strata homes. The targeted properties are all rentals, including 17 housing co-operatives. This could discourage development and cause values to fall for land where only rentals are permitted, if developers caution. City staff is recommending the move. This is something for property owners to keep an eye on. Meanwhile, Richmond total housing sales were up 13% year-over-year- in December to 481 transactions, while new listings dropped 9% in the same period. The sales-to-listing ratio is at 140%, which has translated into multiple offers and the composite home price increasing 17.4% from a year ago to $1,132,600. 

Burnaby East: Total housing sales in December were 32 – down 3% from November 2021 and down from 22% compared to December 2020 New listings in December were down 44% compared to November 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at a 1 month’s supply, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 145% compared to 85% in November 2021 and 216% in December 2020. The composite home price is up 13%, year-over-year, to $1,127,600.
 
Burnaby North: The benchmark detached house price jumped to $1,802,600 in December, up 17.3% from a year earlier, reflecting intense demand in the face of lower inventory across every sector. Total new listings in December were down 45% compared to November 2021 and down 27% compared to December 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month as the sales-to-listings ratio rose to 130% compared to 84% in November 2021.
 
Burnaby South: The detached house market edged closer to the $2 million club in December, as benchmark prices edged up 1.9% from a month earlier to $1,868,000, the highest house price in Burnaby. Total housing sales, however, dropped 17% from November to 225 units, likely due to a severe shortage. Active listings were at 257 at month end compared to 574 at that time last year and 358 at the end of November. The total sales-to listings ratio is a blistering 138% compared to 100% in November 2021 and 103% in December 2020.
 
New Westminster: The benchmark detached house price in the Royal City in December was $1,393,800, up 21.5% from a year earlier, but prices are higher in some neighbourhoods, based on recent BC Assessment values. A property in Queensborough has been assessed at $3,009,000 and at least 10 other properties in New Westminster topped $2.5 million, according to assessment values released January 4. Detached house prices will likely increase, because the sales-to-listing ratio hit 183% in December, among the highest in Metro Vancouver, because only 12 new listings hit the market in the month. Total listings of all properties in December were down 53% compared to November 2021 and down 9% compared to December 2020, but the sales-to-listing ratio is 164%. 

Coquitlam: Total housing sales fell 25% in December from a month earlier, to 216, but a lack of inventory drove the composite benchmark home price up 2% in the same period to $1,162,400. Detached house prices were up 25.1% from a year earlier to $1,616,200, while townhouse prices shot up 23% to $904,500. Total new listings for all properties in December were down 52% compared to November 2021 and down 27% compared to December 2020, as the sales-to-listing ratio hit 140%.
 
Port Moody: This market is experiencing some of the highest price increases in Greater Vancouver. The benchmark condo price in December was $767,600, up 16.9% from year earlier and the typical detached house sold for $1,948,800, 24% higher than in December of last year and by far the highest price in the Tri-Cities.

Total sales in December were down 33%, year-over-year, to 52 units, and active listings fell to just 97 homes, compared to 155 at the end of 2020. The result is a sales success ratio of 133%, meaning virtually every new listing is selling. The bottom-line numbers, there were only 19 townhouses and 22 apartments available for sale.

Port Coquitlam: For now, this is the most affordable of the Tri-Cities, with a composite benchmark home price of $988,800 in December. There are no big housing developments planned for 2022, but a number of civic projects, including a downtown upgrade and a civic centre makeover are underway. More housing supply is badly needed, though, as the total inventory is down to two-weeks and the sales-to-listing ratio is a sizzling 162% with 4 townhouses and 17 apartments available. An idea of the price direction in Port Coquitlam is the December sale of a 1.2-acre rental building downtown that sold for $18.2million.

Ladner: Total housing sales in December were 21 – down 49% from November 2021, and 39% below December 2020. Active Listings were at 33 (with only 1 townhouse and 3 apartments) at month end compared to 66 at that time last year and 50 at the end of November. New listings in December were down 70% compared to November 2021 and down 60% compared to December 2020. The composite home price has surged 25% from a year ago to $1,103,000 and the typical townhouse price is up 26% to $826,100.
 
Tsawwassen: Detached house prices are up 28.2% from a year ago and rose 3.3% from a month earlier to reach $1,525,300, understandable as total housing sales are running at sales to listing ratio of 215%. Active Listings were at 68 at month end compared to 176 at that time last year and 97 at the end of November.
 
Pitt Meadows: Total Units Sold in December were 33 – up from 32 (3%) in November 2021, down from 34 (3%) in October 2021, up from 26 (27%) in December 2020, up from 27 (22%) in December 2019; Active Listings were at 29 at month end compared to 47 at that time last year and 37 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 36% compared to November 2021, up 20% compared to December 2020 and up 115% compared to December 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 117% compared to 72% in November 2021, 130% in December 2020 and 207% in December 2019. The shocking numbers: 16 detached homes, 8 townhouses and 2 apartments were available at year end.
 
Maple Ridge: Total Units Sold in December were 159 – down from 198 (20%) in November 2021, down from 187 (15%) in October 2021, down from 214 (26%) in December 2020, up from 130 (22%) in December 2019; Active Listings were at 143 at month end compared to 371 at that time last year and 235 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 50% compared to November 2021, down 33% compared to December 2020 and up 4% compared to December 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 145% compared to 90% in November 2021, 129% in December 2020 and 123% in December 2019.

 

Download December Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download December Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Condos alone can’t meet buyer demand


Sales of condominium apartments accounted for 53 per cent of all housing sales in Greater Vancouver in November 2021, with a 33.3% surge in transactions compared to November of 2020, but the record-setting sales pace may underline desperation in the market.

In the Fraser Valley, November sales of condo apartments were up 42.8% from November of 2020 and the benchmark price was up 21.7 per cent compared to November 2020.


We suspect more buyers are opting for a condo apartment because there is simply such little choice amidst unprecedented low inventory across all of Metro Vancouver. As well, apartments attract more investors than other sectors of the housing market, which further reduces the inventory. This is seen in pre-sales of new condo projects, in both Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

At least six new condo projects in Surrey, for example, completely pre-sold a total of 1,400 new condos since the summer. One high-rise project in central Surrey pre-sold 365 condos in a single weekend in mid-November.

Metro Vancouver saw 15 new condo projects, with a total of 2,525 units, released in October and this was followed by 1,796 pre-sale condos released in 13 projects in November. Yet Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports that, even with 25,000 new condos under construction across Metro Vancouver, there were less than 1,500 condo units unsold as of November 1, the lowest level in three years.

As the demand increased, the price of the most affordable housing option has risen in step. As of November, the benchmark price for a resale apartment in Greater Vancouver was $752,800, up 11.1% from November of last year and 0.9% higher than in October 2021. In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price for a apartment is now $530,400.

The average pre-sale price for a new condo in Metro Vancouver is now $1,050 to $1,150 per square foot, based on recent pre-sales. This means that a typical one-bedroom 480-square foot new condo costs around $500,000, and this average holds steady throughout most Metro Vancouver suburbs. Investors and owner-occupiers continue to buy due to expectations that prices will be even higher in the months and years ahead, which does appear certain due to the stubbornly low inventory.

The housing supply issue in Metro Vancouver is seriously out of whack with market demand. We have seen recent municipal and provincial government attempts to increase supply, but it is too little and too late to correct the current shortage any time soon.

Across Greater Vancouver the total inventory of homes for sale is stuck at a two month’s supply while the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 83% on average and cresting at over 100% in many markets.

With December looming, a month when listings traditionally fall to the lowest level of the year, Greater Vancouver will likely see the smallest ever inventory of homes to begin a New Year. The lowest we’ve seen at the start of a year is at 6,200 active listings. We will likely have less than 6,000 at the end of December which would translate into less than 5,000 active listings in Greater Vancouver when 2022 starts, after all the expired listings come and go at the end of December.

To put this in perspective, over the last six years, the average number of active listings to finish the year has been 8,440 while in the previous 20 years it’s been 12,015 homes.

If you have considered selling any type of property, list now and prepare for offers. If you need to wait until after the seasonal holidays, list early in January.

 
Highlights of the November 2021 house market:

 

Highest year-over-year detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver: Maple Ridge, up 34.1%
Biggest year-over-year detached house sales drop: Surrey, down 33.1%
Most expensive condo market: West Vancouver ($1.16 million)
Least expensive condo market: Surrey ($433,000)
Average sales-to-listing ratio, Greater Vancouver: 87%

 
 

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: A total of 3,492 homes sold in November 2021, virtually unchanged (up 1%) from October but 15% higher than in November 2020. Active listings, however, crashed to 7,570 homes, down from 11,716 in November of last year. Here is a snapshot example of what is happening: New listings continue to decline as they have for months, slipping a further 2% from October to November. The month’s supply of total residential listings is still at two month’s (seller’s market conditions) and the overall sales to listings ratio is at 87% compared to 86% in October 2021 and 75% in November 2020. The composite home price in Greater Vancouver is now $1,211,200. This represents a 16% increase over November 2020 and a 1% increase compared to October 2021.
 
Vancouver Westside: A total of 647 homes of all types sold in the Westside in November, up 38% from November of 2020 and 9% higher than in October 2021.
New listings in November were down 11% compared to October 2021, but up 8% compared to November 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio is 75% compared to 61% in October 2021 and 59% in November 2020. The price of detached houses on the Westside is slowly declining. The benchmark price of the 100 detached houses sold in November was $3,413,800, down 1% from October and tracking down about 1% over the past six months. The benchmark townhouse price is now $1,296,900, unchanged from a month earlier and up 12.7% from November of last year. The benchmark price for a Westside condo apartment in November was $835,500, 9.6% higher than in November 2020. With more inventory on Vancouver’s Westside, it’s keeping prices more in check compared to other areas. Funny, more supply does help keep prices down.
 
Vancouver East Side: The City of Vancouver claims it is speeding up residential building permit approvals. As an example, the city claims that it should now take 12 weeks less time to get a permit for a new house to be built. As a comparison, Surrey, which is the second largest B.C. city, guarantees that will take no more than 12 weeks for new house building permit to be approved. In Vancouver it can still take seven years for a permit for a new condo or townhouse development to work through the city process. Meanwhile, housing demand is increasing and supply is falling. Total East Side housing sales in November reached 385, up 6% from November 2020, but active listings were down to 921 homes, compared to 1,232 in November of last year. With the overall sales to listing ratio at 76%, there is now just a two-month supply of homes on the East Side. As a result, the benchmark detached house price in November was $1,744,700, up 20% from a year ago; the typical townhouse now sells for $1,070,700, up 18.8%, year-over-year; and the benchmark condo price is now $639,600 and has been rising by 1% month-over-month this year in this seller’s market.
 
 
North Vancouver: The benchmark price of a detached house this November in North Vancouver was $1,955,300, up 17% from a year ago, but for 88 house owners in central Lonsdale, detached house prices may soon be rising faster. That’s because the City of North Vancouver ruled on November 15 to upzone the 300 block (St. Andrews and Ridgeway avenues) from East 15th to East 19th Streets for duplexes. Even higher density zoning, to include row houses, is being eyed for the area. This plan has been in the works for seven years. Under the change, the 88 lots can be converted to duplexes without going through the usual time-consuming zoning process. It is a start, at least. So far this year, no townhouses have been approved to start in North Vancouver city and there are only 27 under construction in the entire city. Meanwhile, there were only 40 new listings for townhouses in all of North Vancouver City and District in November and there were 42 sales, resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio was 105%, meaning every townhouse listing is selling. I know we keep beating the same drum, but when will municipalities realize that more housing supply is desperately needed?
 
West Vancouver: While overall housing sales were down in November, with the 81 transactions off 10% from both October 2021 and from November 2020, West Vancouver also posted a dubious award: provincial data shows West Vancouver homeowners will pay the fourth-highest speculation and vacancy tax in the province for 2020, at $5.9 million. The onerous speculation tax is supposed to lower both the rental vacancy rate and the price of housing. There is no evidence of either since the tax was introduced, in fact it appears to have had the exact opposite effect. The composite home price in West Vancouver was up 12% from a year ago, at $2,552,100 in November. A lack of supply may cause prices to increase: new listings in November were down 30% compared to October 2021 and the sales-to-listing ratio is at 70% compared to 54% a month earlier.
 
Richmond: How time and opportunity slip away. In November, nearly nine years after a plan was first discussed, the City of Richmond has booted a proposal for a large residential development in the Capstan area – 1,300 homes – for further discussion. The developer has already agreed to save more trees, add more rentals and pay $205,000 for an “owl and hawk hunting area.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for a new townhouse or condo in the that area, despite the intense demand. In November, a total of 481 homes sold in Richmond, up 43% from November of 2020, but the total active listings plunged to 997 homes, down from 1,637 at that time last year and 1,155 at the end of October 2021. With just a two-month supply on the market, the sales-to-listing ratio is a startling 94%. The current composite home price in Richmond is $1,116,200, up 16.3% from November of last year. We fully expect Richmond home prices to increase as the supply dwindles.
 
Ladner: Okay, I know we have heard this before, but Ladner may actually be moving towards completing a downtown makeover plan – discussed for decades and in planning for two years – that would increase density and encourage redevelopment of the waterfront. In November the city gave preliminary approval for projects of up to six storeys. A public hearing on the plan is set for December 14, starting at 6 p.m. In November, 41 homes sold in Ladner, up 8% from October, but new listings fell 20% in the same period. There is about a one-month supply of homes on the market, and the sales-to-listing ratio is at a remarkable 103%. The composite home price was $1,077,700 in November, 23.5% higher than in November 2020.
 
Tsawwassen: The benchmark price of a Tsawwassen detached house in November was up 26.8% from a year earlier to $1,476,700, which is also 5.5% higher than just three months ago, one of the higher price increases in Greater Vancouver. Townhouse prices have shot up 13.4% year-over-year, to $872,500, which is higher than in Burnaby or New Westminster. This underlines the price parity we noted last month that may be keeping new listing in check. At one time, a seller could cash out of home in Burnaby or Vancouver and be confident of buying for much less in areas like South Delta. Also, a first-time buyer would look to the outer suburbs for more affordable homes to get onto the real estate ladder. But today, home prices are quite similar across all of Metro Vancouver. Like many suburbs, the law of supply and demand is driving Tsawwassen prices higher. With new listings down 14% in November from a month earlier, the sales-to-listing ratio was 106% and multiple offers have become common.
 
 
Burnaby East: It was more expensive to buy a condo apartment in Burnaby East than a townhouse this November, a rarity in Greater Vancouver. I suspect it is because of a lack of townhouse sales in a market where there is only a one month’s supply of homes on the market, plus the recent resales of fairly new condos. In any case, the benchmark condo price in November was $742,400, while the townhouse benchmark was $704,400. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is 85%, creating a seller’s market in Burnaby East.
 
Burnaby North: The benchmark price of a North Burnaby detached house has increased about $238,000 over the past year to a November benchmark of $1,769,000. And yes, we are still seeing multiple offers on prime houses in this strong seller’s market. Total sales in November were 185 homes, up 19% from November 2020, but the total active listings were down to 322, compared to 439 at the same time last year. The sales to listing ratio is running at 84%, up from 63% in November 2020. Burnaby North is a very strong condo market, due to the ongoing Brentwood area developments, with the benchmark condo price in November at $738,300, 11.1% higher than a year ago.
 
Burnaby South: Total housing sales in November reached 225 transactions, up 42% from November of last year and virtually unchanged from October 2021. Active listings were at 358 at month end compared to 669 at the same time last year, and 438 at the end of October 2021. New listings in November were down 2% compared to October 2021.The sales-to-listing ratio was 100% in both November and in October, showing that supply is not close to meeting demand. Townhouses are posting the strongest price growth, increasing an average of 2% per month for the last six month to reach $772,600 in November.
 
New Westminster: One potential developer has been waiting six years for a small townhouse development to achieve zoning through New Westminster’s approval process. Another, a rental project which even the mayor said “checks all the boxes,” was dissuaded from proceeding in November because city staff are concerned the site “is problematic from a livability perspective.” Meanwhile, only 12 new townhouses have been completed in New Westminster this year and, of the 16 condo apartments completed, there is only one that has been “unabsorbed”, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. There are 1,522 apartments under construction in the Royal City, but most will not complete until 2023 since 1,200 of them just started this year, and many of which are rentals. What is badly needed is strata townhouses. In November there were only 17 new listings for townhouses, but the sales-to-listing ratio was 142% due to 24 sales. As a result, the median price of a townhouse has soared $120,000 from a year ago to $854,000 this November. New Westminster currently has only a one month’s supply of all types of housing and the over sales-to-listing ratio is running at 99%.
 
Coquitlam: With total listings down nearly 50% in November, to 383, compared to the same month a year earlier and down from 430 at the end of October 2021, even Coquitlam is facing a housing shortage. This is reflected in prices in a market where the November sales-to-listing ratio was a high 89% and touched 110% in October. The benchmark condo price is up 14.2% year-over-year to $607,000; the typical townhouse is transacting at $890,100, up 22.2% from the same time last year; and detached house price are 24% higher to $1,577,900.
 
Port Moody: A flashpoint for the development community is close to ignition in Port Moody, where a major developer is apparently prepared to walk away from a large multi-family development because of repeated delays and changes from the city. The overall plan, more than two years in the works, involves replacing 58 detached houses that were assembled for a new development with hundreds of condos and townhouses. Meanwhile, total active listings have fallen about 40% from a year ago to just 125 homes in November. There is an estimated two-month’s supply on the market and the overall sales-to-listing ratio has been over 84% for two months. The composite price for a Port Moody home was up 16.6% from a year ago at $1,086,700 in November.
 
Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales in Port Coquitlam reached 127 homes in November, up 6% from a month earlier and 25% higher than in November 2020. Active listings were at 107 at the end of November, compared to 199 at that time last year and 138 at the end of October; new listings in November were down 13% compared to October 2021. Once by far the most affordable TriCity community, Port Coquitlam’s detached house price, at a benchmark of $1,323,500 in November, is narrowing the gap with Coquitlam and Port Moody, after increasing 27.3% from a year earlier. Based on its 111% sales-to-listing ratio, there is only a one-month supply of homes on the Port Coquitlam market.
 
 
Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is still relatively affordable for home buyers, but only in relation to the rest of Metro Vancouver. Just three years ago the benchmark detached house price in Pitt Meadows was $702,000. This November it was $1,310,200. This may help explain why total sales in November were down 30% from the same month a year ago and 6% lower than in October 2021. New listings increased 13% in November from a month earlier, but total active listings, at just 37, are 40% lower than a year ago. The sales-to-listing ratio calmed to 72% compared to 106% in October 2021, but this remains a seller’s market.
 
 
Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge holds the distinction of posting the highest detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver, with the November benchmark price up 34.1% from a year earlier to $1,204,000.The entire Maple Ridge market is quite active, with November sales of 198 homes up 6% from a month earlier and 12% above the pace in November 2020. While total active listing are 55% lower than a year ago, new listings in November were up an encouraging 27% compared to October 2021. Yet, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 90% in November and 109% in October, prices may be forced higher.
 
Surrey: Speaking of price parity, the benchmark price of a detached house in Surrey in November was $1,557,900 after increasing 34.7% from a year earlier. But, and we have to blame the spike in prices, sales of detached houses plunged 33.1% in the same period and have remained static at around 320 sales for the last three months. Townhouses have seen the same trajectory, with year-over-year prices up 30.3% and sales falling by 20%. Lovely as Surrey is, when property prices begin to challenge suburban markets closer to Vancouver, it appears buyer resistance sets in. The outlier is Surrey condos, which are priced at a benchmark of $433,000 – far lower than in Greater Vancouver where the condo price is now $752,000. Surrey condo sales soared 52.5% in November, to 305 transactions, compared to November 2020. I would suggest that many first-time buyers and investors are being drawn to Surrey’s condo market.

 

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Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Suburban safety valves close as prices rise in step


The shocking shortage of homes for sale across Metro Vancouver has had the unsettling effects of levelling residential prices and stunting supply from Burrard Inlet to well south of the Fraser River. The suburban safety valves for those seeking more affordable homes have nearly vanished.


The price gap between the average home price in Greater Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley was once a canyon: today it is a creek.

In October 2019, just three years ago, the composite home price difference between Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley was $272,500. This October that had narrowed to less than $150,000. In the detached housing market, it now costs nearly the same to buy a house in North Burnaby ($1.74 million) or East Vancouver ($1.71 million) as in South Surrey-White Rock, where the October benchmark was $1.76 million. A house in Langley ($1.45 million) is higher than in New Westminster or Port Coquitlam and within $50,000 of a detached house in East Burnaby.

The composite benchmark price in Chilliwack in October, at $800,000, was higher than in New Westminster ($749,200); and within $200,000 of most of the Tri-Cities market.

This price-gap shrinkage is the result of and a key reason for the current lack of new listings on the Metro Vancouver market. In the misty past – like 36 months ago – Greater Vancouver homebuyers could count on selling and downsizing to a smaller, pleasant Fraser Valley community and pocketing a healthy premium. First-time buyers would start their real estate ascension buying in the eastern Valley and, if desired, leverage up to a place in Greater Vancouver.

Now, though, many homeowners are reluctant to list because their exit strategy has been blocked. It is difficult to downsize or upgrade to a place 30 or 60 kilometres away when the home prices are nearly identical or you are you don’t feel you will be able to find a home to purchase.
The effect has been devastating.

In October, Greater Vancouver saw 3,455 homes sell but only 4,120 new listings were added to the market. With an 86% sale- to-listings ratio in the month, nearly every listing that came on the market sold – and in some areas like Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Tsawwassen, there were more sales in the month than there were new listings.

In the Fraser Valley in October there were 1,938 total sales and a mere 2,188 new listings. That is a sales-to-listing ratio of 88.5%.

Will there be any properties for sale on the Metro Vancouver market by the end of 2021? At the rate of decline in the number of active listings, it would seem we could very well run out. For years, there’s been a concentrated, coordinated push by all three levels of government to hold back housing demand. But now we’re left with a complete lack of supply, the lowest levels ever recorded at this time of year.

Maybe one day we’ll stop saying how low the number of active listings is and that each month won’t be setting a record for how low they are. Likely not in the near term though. At the end of October there were 8,492 active listings available for sale in Greater Vancouver, which was less than the 9,728 active listings at the end of September. Sales for the month, however, were up 11% from September and 22.4% above the 10-year October average.

In the Fraser Valley, there were just 3,447 active listings in October, down a stunning 49.8% from October 2020 and nearly 10% lower than in September 2021. But total sales were the third-highest for October on record, 18.2% higher than in October of last year and nearly 5% higher than in September 2021. 

As we have seen for some months, year-over-year condominium apartment sales in October tracked above last year while detached and townhouse markets are showing less sales than in the same month a year ago.
Compared to October 2020, the number of apartment sales in October this year were up 14%, while townhouses were down 22% and detached home transactions down 18%. On the supply side, the number of new listings for detached homes in October was down 29% year over year with active listings down 24%, townhouse new listings were down 22% with active listings down 47% and apartment new listings down 25% and active listings down 38%.

And, unlike other years, we can’t expect a surge of new housing starts to provide the necessary inventory. Across all of Metro Vancouver, total starts as of September were down 37% from August to just 14,109 units ­– and 24% of these were rental units.
 

Highlights of the Metro Vancouver market October 2021

 

  • Communities with less than one-month inventory of homes: Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Ladner

  • Markets with sales-to-new-listing ratios higher than 100%: Coquitlam, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Sunshine Coast.

  • Biggest month-over-month detached house price increase: Pitt Meadows (up 4.6% from September.)

  • Biggest month-over-month detached house price decline: Vancouver West Side (down 1.3% from September).

  • Condominium sales as a percentage of the total market: 50%

 

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: There were a total of 3,545 residential transactions in October, up 11% from September 2021, but down 6% from October 2020. Active listings were at 8,492 at month end compared to 13,066 at that time last year and 9,728 at the end of September. New listings in October were down 22% compared to September 2021 and 28% lower when compared to October 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 months, signalling a strong seller’s market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 86%, compared to 60% a month earlier. The composite home price in October was $1,199,400, up 1.1% from a month earlier and 14.7% higher than in October 2020.
 
Fraser Valley: There were a total of 1,983 home sales in October, up 3.9% from a month earlier, but down 18.2% from October 2020. After rebounding slightly in September, new listings decreased in October. Only 2,188 new listings were added, a decrease of 29% compared to last year, and a decrease of 6.6% compared to September 2021. The month ended with a total active inventory of 3,447, which is a 9.6% decrease compared to September, and down 49.8% compared to October 2020. The average composite home price is now $1,053,635, up 2.8% from September 2021 and 24.6% higher than in October of last year.
 
Vancouver Westside: The October benchmark price of a Westside detached house was $3,450,000 and the composite home price was $1,365,300, which is double the Canada-wide composite average. Yet Westside detached house sales were up 31%, at 108 transactions, from September 2021 and total sales, at 595, were 7% higher, month over month. A lack of supply – new listings in October were down 21% from September – has had a counterintuitive effect on prices. The benchmark detached house price was down 1.3% from a month earlier and remained slightly lower (down 0.5%) from three months ago. Townhouse benchmark prices, at $1,300,300, have increased just 0.7% from August and the benchmark condo apartment price, at $823,300, is virtually unchanged from six months ago. The sales-to-new listing ratio for houses was 68%; it was 55% from townhouses and 61% for condo apartments, all up marginally from the monthly averages this year.
 
Vancouver East Side: More detached houses sold, 137, on the East Side of Vancouver in October than in any other sub-market in all of Greater Vancouver, including the West Side. The key reasons are price and potential. At a benchmark price of $1,717,400, East Side houses are less expensive than across Greater Vancouver and remain about half the price of homes west of Quebec Street. As for potential, the
City of Vancouver has new plan to scrapping the rezoning and public hearings for six-storey rental projects along arterial streets from Hastings-Sunrise to Dunbar, with most of the action expected on the East Side. This could encourage developers. The East Side will also soon have the new Broadway Corridor transit hubs; the $2 billion new St. Paul’s Hospital is underway and Mount Pleasant East is undergoing a high-tech job explosion, as is the emerging False Creek Flats. East Vancouver’s sales-to-listing ratio is running at 87% for both houses and townhouses, due to severe shortage of new listings, while 76% of new listings for condos sold in October. Its median condo price, with 178 sales in October, was $662,000.
 
North Vancouver: North Vancouver’s need for more housing supply is underlined by the sudden spike in school enrollment this year, with 440 more local students when schools opened in September compared to a year earlier. International student enrollment shot up to 531, though projections were for less than 380. This is enough students to fill two elementary schools. All these children and their parents need places to live but total new listings for detached houses in October were down about 40% from September to just 94 houses, and the sales-to-listing ratio was 100%. There was a slight uptick in townhouse listings, at 54, while new listings for condo apartments fell to 142 units, down from 224 a month earlier. The sales-to-listing ratio for condos hit 96%, the highest monthly level so far this year. The total supply of North Vancouver homes is down to 2 months, while the composite home price in October was up 0.5% from September, at $1,245,600. The benchmark detached house price led the increase, with a 1.4% month-to-month rise to $1,939,500.
 
West Vancouver: Attempts to build more multi-family strata supply in West Vancouver is mixed. A 68-unit condo project was recently approved at Taylor Wave and Marine Drive but a similar development on Bellevue Avenue was refused in mid-October. Only 24 strata homes have started this year. Meanwhile, the total supply of homes for sale is down to a 6-month inventory, as total new listings in October dropped 23% from a month earlier. West Vancouver posted 60 detached sales in October, up from 41 in September while the benchmark detached price increased 1.9% to $$3,201,200 and the sales success ratio hit 48%. Only 14 townhouses and 22 condo apartments were added to the market in October, created a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 64% and 86%, respectively for the sectors.
 
Richmond: Provincial legislation introduced in late October is meant to speed up residential developments at the municipal level, and Richmond could use such help to get more homes started. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 86% in October, Richmond has just 2 months of total housing inventory. October saw total sales increase 11% from September to 479 transactions. This was led by 243 sales of condo apartments, at a benchmark price of $731,100, a price up 0.9% from a month earlier. The benchmark detached house price in Richmond, at $1,950,600 in October, was unchanged from September. Sales of townhouses were up about 10% from September, to 117 transactions, while the benchmark townhouse price held steady at $961,200.
 
Burnaby East: Burnaby East is the most affordable of the Burnaby markets, with the October composite price at $1,099,000 and detached houses selling for $1,501,700, nearly unchanged from a month earlier. Total housing sales reached 44 in October, up 16% from September, but new listings were down 33% month-over-month and 47% below October 2020. The supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month with a sales to listings ratio of 133% in October compared to 78% in September 2021.
 
Burnaby North: Burnaby North could be the multiple-offer centre of Greater Vancouver as a 51% drop in new listings collided with a 16% increase in sales, month-over-month, in October. The result was predictable as eager buyers competed for scant opportunities. Strata prices are steadily rising and the composite home price, at $1,122,900, is now 11.7% higher than in October 2020.

There is an acute shortage of townhouses, seen in the average 1.1% price increase month-over-month this year, to an October benchmark of $841,500. Not a single new townhouse has started construction this year in North Burnaby and just 16 new townhouses under construction. Condo apartments dominate the market, selling for a benchmark of $733,200, up 4.4% from six months ago. More supply is coming, with 2,274 new condos under construction as of October 1. Detached house prices have levelled off at $1,743,700, up just 2% from six months earlier. The overall sales-to-listing ratio hit 102% in October in this strong seller’s market.
 
Burnaby South: Total October housing sales were up 25% from September to 228 transactions, while new listings were down 20% in the same period, a common story across the entire region. With a total inventory at a 2-month supply, the sales-to-listing ratio in October hit 100%, which is as tight as you can get. The composite home price in October was up 9.2% from a year earlier at $1,057,200.
 
New Westminster: The Royal City posted a 95% sales-to-listing ratio in October, compared to just 56% a month earlier, as sales increased 27% and new listings dropped 26% in the same period. The supply of total residential listings is down to 2 months. Prices continue to rise across the board, with detached houses up 1.3% from September at $1,364,600; townhouse prices up nearly 2% month-over-month to $$864,300; and the typical condo apartment selling for $568,000, 7.6% higher than a year ago and up 0.2% from September 2021.
 
Coquitlam: The City of Coquitlam has put a 4.4-acre townhouse site on the market, with RFO bids being accepted until November 10. Let’s hope some developer bites, because there were only 29 townhouses added to the MLS service in October while there were 34 townhouse sales, resulting in a 134% sales-to-listing ratio. The benchmark townhouse price is now $878,100, up 20.9% from the same month last year and they have been rising about 2% month-over-month since then. The housing shortage is being seen right across Coquitlam, with just 434 total active listings, down about 50% in October compared to October 2020. The resulting sales-to-listing ratio is 111%, which is unsustainable unless a fresh supply is added.
 
Port Moody: The City of Port Moody, which has earned a recent reputation as anti-development since 2018, appears to have seen the light, because it is running out of housing inventory which is driving prices higher. At $1,878,400 in October, detached house prices are nearly 24% higher than a year ago and among the highest of all suburban markets in Greater Vancouver. Strata prices are also rising, ascending an average of 14% over the past 12 months. The city is now hoping to increase strata supply and, as one city councillor put it “stop beating builders with a stick.” So far in 2021 only 28 townhouses have started construction in Port Moody, along with 378 condo apartments.
 
Port Coquitlam: This enclave of relative stability and affordability has been discovered, resulting in a 24% spike in sales in October, to 120 transactions, compared to a month earlier. The benchmark detached house is $1,289,000, the lowest price in the Tri-Cities market. The median condo apartment price, however, increased $40,000 from September to October when it reached $543,900. Total new listings in October were down 10% compared to September 2021, and 26% lower than in October 2020, which will increase price pressure. Port Coquitlam has a total inventory of just one month supply of homes, and the sales ratio is running at 92%, so buyers looking at this market should act quickly.
 
Pitt Meadows: After a year of quite strong sales, Pitt Meadows is running out of homes for sale, literally, which stalled total October sales at just 34 transactions, down 17% from September. There are just 34 active listings on the market, which means that virtually everything is selling. Detached house prices remain among the lowest in Greater Vancouver, but benchmark values are rising steadily and reached $1,268,000 this October, notching a 4.6% increase from September, the biggest month-over-month increase in Greater Vancouver. There is only a 1-month supply of listings and this could soon be lower as the sales-to-listing ratio is now running at 109%.
 
Maple Ridge: Total sales in October, at 182, were up 3% from September 2021 but down a stunning 36% from October 2020. The reason? Your guessed it: a supply shortage. New listings in October were down 26% compared to September 202, and 41% lower than in October 2020. We estimate, that with the current sales-to-listing ratio at 110%, the total inventory of listings could vanish in a month if the market remains unchanged. The detached house price jumped 2.3% from September to $1,176,600 and condo apartment values increased the same, to $451,000, up nearly 25% from October 2020.
 
Ladner: Hundreds of Delta detached-house owners remain under the old land use contracts, but council is taking steps to end the contracts, which restrict what can be done with a property. Mostly created in the 1970s, land use contracts were signed at the time of a property's original subdivision and outline various development guidelines. All of the contracts are to expire in 2024, but if the Ladner house you are planning to buy is still under the old rules, it is possible to receive permission for such things as adding a secondary suite. Ladner saw a total of 38 home sales in October, unchanged from a month earlier, but the total new listings increased 11% from September, which is rare in the region. The composite home price was up 2.6% from September to $1,074,100 in October, while the detached house price was 2% higher, at $1,134,200.
 
Tsawwassen: With a sales-to-listing ratio of 112% in October, the housing supply is being threatened. In October, 64 homes sold, up 12% from September, but new listings were down 22% month over month. The typical detached house sold in October for $1,460,700, up 3.6% (yes, that is about $44,000) from September. There is 2-month supply of homes in this seller’s market.
 
Surrey: Remember when Surrey houses were super affordable compared to most markets north of the Fraser River? Those were the days. In October, with 363 detached-house sales, the Surrey benchmark house price was $1,507,400, which is close to values in Burnaby and Coquitlam. Surrey house prices are now 32% higher than in October 2020. Townhouse benchmark prices, at $746,400, are up 26% for the year and 2.6% higher than in September. Benchmark apartment prices are now $462,200 in Surrey, but are rising an average of 1.6% per month. But note that, as in Greater Vancouver, active listings are down sharply from a year ago.

 

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Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Election over but the effects will linger in Metro Vancouver

 

The federal election is over and those who think nothing has changed should prepare themselves for some of the most intrusive legislation ever into the private-sector housing market. It has never been more apparent that this much housing policy is a reaction to headlines and social media. Common sense is trumped by the need to appear to be doing something, anything, to get elected.


For instance, foreign home buyers – already subject in B.C. the highest taxes in the world – are now virtually a non-entity in the Metro Vancouver real estate market, in both the commercial and residential sectors. Yet, at the same time that the federal government wants to increase immigration to 400,000 persons per year, it plans to ban foreign purchases of Canadian homes for two years. This means that someone planning to move to Canada cannot buy and prepare a home for their family’s arrival until they achieve citizenship without paying perhaps a hefty tax. A family will also be penalized if they purchase an apartment for their foreign student in Vancouver. Please come but don’t touch.

Then there is the plan to reduce the cost of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. insurance by 25 per cent while increasing the ceiling on eligible mortgages to $1.25 million, from $1 million.

Hello? This is clearly an inflationary measure, convincing more entry level buyers to purchase while doing nothing to increase affordability.
There is also the planned anti-flipping tax, which is politically palatable but a disincentive to increasing the much-needed supply of affordable strata homes or rentals. This is because land assembly of existing houses or strata windups is often the first step in multi-family development. These properties are, ideally, assembled and then sold within a year to speed the development process. Another layer of tax on homes bought and sold within 12 months will discourage development while adding higher costs to the resulting new strata or rental units.

Port Moody is among the markets that could be hurt. A large new residential development approved for the city’s Coronation Park area – updated in September to now include 2,650 strata units and a rent-to-own program– spurred single-family land assemblies in the area for higher-density homes, such as badly-needed townhouses. In September, only 19 townhouses were added to Port Moody listings, and 14 of them sold. A mere 28 new townhouse units have started construction in Port Moody for all of this year.

Port Moody has a dramatic shortage, but there is a pressing need for middle-market housing right across Greater Vancouver. In September the total active listings for townhouses was less than 1,100 units, down nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year ago. In fact, the total number of residential listings in Greater Vancouver hasn’t been this low in September going back to 1993 and beyond.

So what to do? As always, keep calm and carry on. Responsible people want and need to buy a home for their family’s comfort and financial security and will continue to do so, regardless of the barriers to their destination.
 

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2021

 

• Province eases regulations on ALR land
• Land assemblies increase in East Vancouver, suburbs
• Active listings plunge nearly 50% in the Fraser Valley
• West Side, West Vancouver tilting towards a buyer’s advantage

 
 
Greater Vancouver market summary: Total residential sales in Greater Vancouver in September were 3,200, down from 3,714 in September of 2020, but slightly higher than the 3,178 sold in August 2021. While not a spectacular month for sales, likely a reflection of the lower selection, September sales were 20% above the 10-year average for this month while the number of new listings was 1% below the 10-year average.

Year over year, condo apartment sales are tracking above September 2020, while detached and townhouse sales are slowing. Compared to September 2020, the number of condo apartment sales this year were up 1%, while townhouse transactions were down 20% and detached homes 27% lower.

It is no coincidence that the sector with the highest supply – condo apartments – is also seeing the highest sales increase. The slowdown in the townhouse and detached-housing markets in September can be traced to a lack of inventory in both sectors.

Overall average residential prices are lower now than at peak prices in April across Greater Vancouver, but there are variations among markets. The average home price in September was $1,174,305, compared to $1,211,233 in April of this year, when sales had hit more than 5,000 transactions for the second straight month.
 
Fraser Valley market summary: Sales in the Fraser Valley were down 10.6% in September from August, but the total of 1,866 transactions was still the second-highest September in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s 100-year history. September, however, ended with a total active inventory of 3,812 homes, down 48.3% compared to September 2020, which drove prices higher across the board. Average prices for single-family detached houses were up 31% from a year earlier and 1.8% higher than in August, to $1,491,989. Townhouse average prices were $773,728, up nearly 5% from August and 27.6% above September 2020. The Valley-wide condo price was $493,188, up 15.6% from September 2020 but virtually unchanged (up 0.7%) from August of 2021.
 
Vancouver Westside: Despite a 4% dip in total sales from August, September’s 567 total transactions were up 6% from a year earlier and the West Side saw a welcome influx of new listings. Total new listings were up 36% from a month earlier and active listings reached 2,554 properties, the vast majority of them condo apartments. The headline news for the trend-setting Westside, however, is that the total supply is now at 5 months, which is tilting it from a seller’s market to a balanced, even hinting at a buyer’s market for the first time in years.

The detached housing market, however, received only 220 new listings in September – up by just 40 from a month earlier – and the average house price settled at $3,573,268, down about $90,000 from both August of this year and September 2021. The sales to listing ratio was 37%, the lowest level since May and the lowest September ratio since 2019. If the active listings and sales of detached houses continue at the same pace, there is a 9-month supply on the market, which signals a buyer’s market. For those aspiring to a detached house on the Westside, this may be the time to take action.

Townhouse prices, at an average of $1,662,908, however, were $270,000 higher than in September 2020 and up $73,000 from August of this year. There were 66 townhouse sales in September from total new listings of 116, creating a sales-to-listing ratio of 57%, compared to 86% a month earlier. The lack of inventory is keeping prices high, resulting in some frustrated buyers retreating from the market.

Westside condominium apartment sales present a different story. With 892 new listings added in September and a total of 1,579 condos now on the market, the average price dipped slightly from August, down about $5,000 to $957,893 for the 416 sales in September. Condo sales were down slightly from August, and September’s sales-to-listing ratio of 47% was well off the monthly pace this year and indicative of the cooling market we are seeing this autumn across most of Greater Vancouver. Perhaps that’s why CMHC’s risk report put Vancouver at low compared to high in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and Moncton.
 
Vancouver East: Regular readers will know my belief that Vancouver East is the current and housing market of the future in Greater Vancouver. September emphasized that confidence. Sales in the month surged 25% from August and new listings were up 47%. The result was a great selection and a sales-to-listing ratio of 58%. There is a 3-month supply of inventory in East Vancouver as this strong seller’s market continues.

Vancouver East detached houses, I believe, present good value. The average detached house price in September was $1,846,657. This is lower than the North Shore, Richmond and most of Burnaby, and a startling $1.6 million less than in neighbouring West Side. But none of these markets have the new St. Paul’s hospital underway, the rapidly-growing tech sector or the coming SkyTrain twin-subway extension seen in East Vancouver. Take a drive through Mount Pleasant or visit the 450-acre False Creek Flats north of Great Northern Way to see where Vancouver’s future is heading. East Vancouver detached house owners should be aware that land assemblies will become a major factor in this market over the next few years, if not months.

East Vancouver had 187 townhouses for sale in September, the highest inventory seen in most Greater Vancouver markets. September townhouse sales, at 75, were up 92% from August and the average sale price of $1,258,332 was the highest level this year, and $120,000 above September 2020. The sales-to-new-listing ratio held steady at 53%, close to the average since May of this year.

Condo apartment sales in East Vancouver, at 115 in September, were up from 97 in August but lower than the monthly average this year. With 224 new listings, the sales ratio was 51%, the lowest since January. Despite this, the average condo price reached $808,000, up $34,000 from August and $100,000 higher than a year earlier.
 
North Vancouver: Total housing sales were up 9% in September from a month earlier, to 230 homes, which was 30% higher than in September 2020. Active listings were up from August, with a 70% surge in new listings to a total of 507 homes for sale at the end of September. With a mere 2-month supply, North Vancouver is very much a seller’s market.
Detached houses sales, at 70, were the highest in three months and the average detached house price in September was $2,227,213,the highest level this year and up a startling $435,000 from September 2020. The sales ratio for detached houses was 53% with 144 new listings added to the market in the month.

City-centre detached owners should watch for land assembly action that has started near the massive civic redevelopment planned for the Harry Jerome community centre in Central Lonsdale. The new complex won’t complete until 2025. The city does not allow higher-density zoning in the area today, but some developers are assembling lots in anticipation of future potential such as townhouse zoning.

North Vancouver townhouse listings added just 46 units to the market in September and new listings have not reached 50 townhouses a month since May. Sales in September, at 35, resulted in a 76% sales ratio. The average North Vancouver townhouse sold for $1,332,543, up $195,000 from September 2020, reflecting the high demand and low inventory.

Condominium apartment sales dominated the September market, with 115 sales, but the sales-to-new-listing ratio dropped to 51%, the lowest level this year. The average condo price is now $808,207, up more than $100,000 from a year ago.
 
West Vancouver: One of the most prestigious markets in Canada is moving towards a buyer’s market with an 8-month supply of homes on the market, but buyers still pay premium prices. The average sale price of the 41 detached houses sold in September was $3,536,476. This price is up 13% from a year ago, but below the monthly average this year. With a total of 440 detached houses for sale, there is healthy selection and buyers can take advantage. There were only 11 new listings for townhouses in September and 10 of them sold at a benchmark price of $1,292,000. There were 20 condo apartment sales, unchanged from August, at a benchmark of $1,162,000, up 5.5% from a month earlier.
 
Richmond: Richmond housing sales and listings were down in September, rather dramatically, with sales dropping 32% compared to a year earlier and total active listings down nearly 50% year-over-year to just 320 properties, yet strata prices are soaring. September townhouse prices broke the $1 million average-price barrier for the first time in Richmond as 90% of the 107 new listings sold. Richmond has only a 2-month supply of townhouses in a white-hot seller’s market.

Condo sales led Richmond’s September action, with 230 transactions and 584 active listings, with average condo prices up nearly $100,00 from a month earlier at $641,218.

Detached houses posted 106 sales from 184 new listings in September, and the average price was down slightly from August, at $1,935,761.
There is a buzz in Richmond due the easing of rules regarding the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR). The province recently ruled that smaller farms (100 acres or less) can add a secondary residence, if approved by the local municipality. Richmond has many small ALR parcels, many less than an acre, and the ruling may increase their attraction to buyers. The changes, which come in December 31, 2021, represent a slight opening in restrictions that have limited residential use on about 150,000 acres of ALR land in Metro Vancouver for 45 years.
 
Ladner: Forget for a moment that a gigantic 8-lane replacement for the Massey Tunnel is coming to its doorstep or that the City of Ladner launched a program in September that is unapologetic about aiming to attract higher-density residential development. Instead, think of living in an historic riverside community with startling real estate potential. A lot of people have: 84% of the new listings in Ladner sold in September – a sales ratio that has held steady for months - and total sales were up 9% from August, to 38 transactions. Detached houses sold in September at a benchmark in the $1.3 million range, but Ladner has been posting among the highest month-over-month price increases over the past six months. Something is stirring in sunny Ladner.
 
Tsawwassen: Ladner’s neighbouring Tsawwassen saw total sales dip 23% in September from a month earlier and its sales-to-new-listing ratio is also more subdued 78%, down from 112% in August. Active listings have plunged, with 133 this September compared to 308 at the same time last year. Detached-house prices are benchmarked at $1,409,800, 7% from six months ago but unchanged (up 0.3%) from August 2021. Tsawwassen townhouses are in high demand, even at the current benchmark price of $856,000.
 
Burnaby East: Total housing sales reached 38 units, not much changed from a month or a year earlier. Total active listings also held steady, though low, at 83 per month for two months straight. Townhouses supplied the drama in September as the sales-to-new-listing ratio hit 131% due to a mere 13 new listings compared to 17 sales. The average townhouse price shot up to record high of $1,006,000 as a result. The overall sales-to-new-listing ratio for all homes is 78%, as the housing shortage becomes apparent in this seller’s market.
 
Burnaby North: This market has seen a lot of new housing starts over the past three years, but most have been condos, not townhouses, which remain in high demand. In September, 31of the 36 new listings for townhouses sold and a lack of inventory is all that is keeping sales in check. Multiple offers are still common here, as the average townhouse price jumped $50,000 in a single month to $956,712 in September. The detached-housing action was more subdued with a 62% sales-to-new-listing ratio, and the 32 detached sales seeing an average price of $1,782,633, the lowest monthly level since January 2021. The condo apartment market posted 125 sales, highest in four months, at an average price of $681,673, with a sales-success ratio of 66%.
 
Burnaby South: Home prices in Burnaby South have barely budged in three months and sales, while historically high, where down 8% in September from August. The composite benchmark home prices is just over $1 million as it has been since the early summer. The overall housing inventory is steady at a 3-month’s supply and the sales-to-listing ratio is also solid at 64 per cent in September. This is a seller’s market, and a stable one.
 
New Westminster: The Royal City was one of the hottest markets earlier this year, but the pace slowed in September, with overall housing sales down 10% in as compared to August and new listings up 42% in the same period, resulting in a 52% sales-to-listing ratio, which is about as balanced as it gets. In August, the same ratio was 80%. An opportunity could be opening in the New Westminster detached housing market, with the sales ratio down to 35% in September, the lowest since mid-2020, and the average price tracking down to $1,333,614. There is a six-month supply of detached houses on the market – 81 houses – which is trending towards a buyer’s advantage.
 
Coquitlam: Coquitlam saw total sales dip 13% in September, to 247, compared to a month earlier and were 19% lower than in the same month last year, while the supply of homes is increasing. There are 577 total active listings, up from 551 in August, though they are down about 40% from a year ago. The condo sector posted a 76% sales-to-new-listing ratio to lead the market, with 133 sales at an average price of $634,777, the highest level of any month this year. Townhouse sales dipped to 37 units, down from a three-month average of 48, but 74% of the new listings sold at an average price of $955,854. September saw 74 detached-house sales, the lowest level this year, and average price, at $1,599,752, has been fairly constant since the start of the year.
 
Port Moody: Port Moody has been flirting with a housing boom for three years, with plenty of plans for new development but a lack of actual construction. That could change over the next few months and the supply would be welcomed. There were only 158 active listings in September and that included only 14 new listings for townhomes and just 50 condo apartments available for sale. The sale-to-listing ratio is in the 75% range for both strata sectors. The planned new developments, including the 2,500 homes planned for the Coronation Park area, has increased interest in single-family lot assemblies. The average detached-house price in September was $1,736,346 and 80% of the 30 new listings sold.
 
Port Coquitlam: Good, stable Port Coquitlam saw a total of 97 home transactions in September, unchanged from August 2021 and up 15% from the same month a year ago. New listings increased 25% from a month earlier and the sales-to-listing ratio was a steady 64%, meaning a seller’s market. More detached house listings are needed, because all 34 new listings in September sold. Unlike many markets, more detached houses sell in Port Coquitlam each month than townhouses or condos. Note to first-time buyers, though: the average price for a Port Coquitlam condo is now $495,000, among the lowest in Greater Vancouver.
 
Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is a small housing market and it is among the tightest for supply in Metro Vancouver. The total inventory of homes for sale is down to a 1-month supply as sales leaped 71% in September from a month earlier. There are only 47 active listings, compared to 100 at this time last year. Detached house prices are 6% higher than six months ago, at an average of $1,212,000, and average townhouse prices have risen 12.2% in the same period to $759,000. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is a stunning 93%. If you want to buy in Pitt Meadows, better hurry before all the listings have disappeared.
 
Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge has been attracting many buyers from Vancouver and the inner suburbs this year due to its lower prices and increasingly sophisticated new strata housing. In September, buyers were purchasing detached houses for a benchmark of $1.2 million and condo apartments for $441,000, the lowest prices in any Metro market north of the Fraser River, save for neighbouring Pitt Meadows. There is only a 2-month supply of total residential listings and sales to listings ratio in September was 84%, an indication that Maple Ridge could see a continual elevation in home prices.
 
Surrey: Anyone fortunate enough to take a tour from South Surrey’s Crescent Beach to Central Surrey’s high-rise downtown would have to admit this city on pace to surpass Vancouver as the biggest metropolis in B.C. About 1,000 new business open every year in Surrey and 1,000 people move in every month. In September, 308 detached houses sold in Surrey at an average price of $1,606,000, a price up 28.6% from a year earlier and 2.7% higher than in August 2021. But Surrey is suffering from a lack of listings, with detached listings down as much as 50% and active listings for townhouses down 64% in north Surrey and 40% in South Surrey-White Rock from a year ago. Even condo listings have fallen up to 40% in key markets like Central Surrey and North Surrey, though condo prices remain relatively affordable across Surrey at an average of $485,000 in September. But if even forward-looking Surrey is facing a shortage of housing, you know something must be done to increase the supply across Metro Vancouver, or we will all be facing much higher prices in the near future.

 

Download September Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download September Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

 

Kevin Skipworth
Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty

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Balanced market seen holding this summer

 

June housing sales in Greater Vancouver were down 11.4% from May to the lowest level since January this year as the market wilted in the record-setting heat. Yet, with 3,842 transactions in the month, it remained the eighth-highest June on record in Greater Vancouver.


More telling, perhaps, is the direction of prices, which increased just 0.2 per cent from May, the lowest month-over-month increase in at least a year. As June ended, the composite price of all homes sold in Greater Vancouver was $1,175,100. The value of detached houses sold was unchanged from a month earlier at $1,801,000.

But sharp eyes will notice an anomaly: outlying markets that had been posting the highest year-over-year price increases reported the biggest month-over-month decline in detached house prices in June.

Detached house prices on Bowen Island, which had soared 34% annually as of May, posted a 0.9% price decline in June compared to May. Whistler, where prices had jumped 38% from a year earlier, had prices drop 1.8% in June from a month earlier. Ladner prices fell 0.6% from May to June, after seeing an annual acceleration of 27%.


Across the Fraser Valley, total sales fell 24% from May to June and the average detached house price dropped by 4% month-over-month.


Meanwhile on Vancouver’s West Side – the epicenter of B.C. urbanity – the benchmark price of a detached house increased 2.2 per cent in June from May, the highest increase in Greater Vancouver.

We don’t think this is surprising, or a short-term trend. September is expected to welcome in the fourth and final phase of B.C.’s post-pandemic reopening. This means international borders will open, all businesses will be back in action and thousands of workers will return to the office. The big city will look increasingly tempting as hockey games open to crowds, major concerts tune up and Vancouver’s restaurants, pubs and theatres are open for business.

Expect to see home sales and prices, not just in Vancouver but across the entire region, continue to increase. The reason is quite simply the undeniable law of supply of demand.

From 2010 to 2020, B.C.’s population increased by 737,206 while only 316,510 housing units were built. In 2020, just 39,000 housing units were completed in B.C., up just 3% from 2019.

Some catch-up is taking place. In the first five months of this year, Metro Vancouver new home registrations were up 69% compared to the same period in 2020. About 18,000 new non-rental homes were registered in Metro Vancouver so far this year.

Still, with resale home sales averaging more than 4,000 per month and 50% of new-multi-family strata projects selling out – a pace of around 2,800 per month – supply is barely keeping pace with demand. In fact, the number of active listings in June were down 1% from a month earlier and new listings down 18% compared to May.

The number of Metro Vancouver properties sold in the first six months of the year is the second highest on record, just below the first half of 2016. Without a substantial supply in homes available, that demand continues to create pressure on prices. 

The revised mortgage “stress test” rules came into place June 1, but with multiple offers still significantly occurring below $1 million, the effects of this change don’t seem to have had much effect. Demand is strong at the lower price levels and the continued lack of homes available for sale will continue to create an extremely competitive landscape.

And remember, you only have to qualify for the stress test 5.25% mortgage rate, not pay it.

Right now, it is possible to secure a five-year variable mortgage at 0.99%, perhaps the lowest rate in Canadian history.


While this summer is likely to lead to less activity in the real estate market, it will provide opportunity. Sellers should consider listing during this time as there will be less new listings compared to the last four months, and buyers that are looking will likely be serious. With the Real Estate Council of BC and the Superintendent of Real Estate consenting to open houses and in-person showings again, access to homes will be also much easier.

 

Metro Vancouver June highlights


• Highest detached house price increase from May: West Vancouver, up 3.4%

• Highest condominium price increase from May: Maple Ridge, up 3%

• Biggest decrease in detached house sales from May: Surrey, down 29.8%

• Lowest price detached houses in June: Sunshine Coast, at $838,300

• Highest price detached house in June: Vancouver’s West Side, at $3.38 million

• Top small market for investors to watch: Ladner
 
Vancouver Westside: Total West Side housing sales in June, at 616 transactions, were down 16% from May, but 51% higher than in June 2020. New Listings in June were down 13% compared to May 2021, yet up 10% compared to June 2020. The result is a 48% sales-to-new-listing ratio, and a subsequent price increase. In June the benchmark West Side detached house price, for example, was $3,458,300, up 16.3% from a year earlier and 2.2% higher – that is $76,000 – than a month earlier. The total current inventory of residential listings is steady at a four month’s supply, signaling a continued seller’s market. Condo investors should note that West Side apartment prices have not budged much in two months and are now less expensive, at $831,200, than they were three years ago, while average rents have increased.

Vancouver East Side: The East Side of Vancouver continues as a hot market, with June sales up 5% from May, to 451, a 61% increase from June 2020. New listings dropped to just 1,071 homes, down 17% from a year ago. The composite benchmark home price was down 0.2% from May and the detached house price fell 0.8%,month-over-month to $1,695,500. There is now a 3-month supply of listings on the East Side market and the sales-to-listing ratio is 66%, one of the strongest levels in Metro Vancouver. With prices moderating this summer despite the healthy sales, buyers may want to take advantage.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver saw listings of homes for sale drop 21% in June from a month earlier. June sale transactions fell 10% from May, to 322, and composite benchmark prices was up just 0.6 per cent from a month earlier, to $1,123,800, with detached houses also virtually unchanged at $1,914,000. On the resale market, there is about a 2-month supply of homes for sale, and the sales to listing ratio is 70%, signalling a seller’s market. There are 33 new condo projects and 25 townhouse developments underway across North Vancouver City and District, so future supply, albeit more expensive, is coming.

West Vancouver: West Vancouver is primarily a detached house market, so city proposals that would reduce the size of new houses and at the same time allow coach houses and secondary suites are worth watching. Plans call for the floor-space ratio on large lots reduced from 0.35 to 0.30, with a maximum of 2,200 square feet of house allowed on smaller lots. However, the city is also considering allowing an 800-square foot ‘bonus’ for a separate coach house (or laneway house) and 500 square feet for a secondary suite. The bonus would also be applied on lots with homes built prior to 1976, provided that the original house is retained. The new rules, if all approved, would come in January of 2022. Meanwhile, there was little change in West Vancouver’s housing market in June: sales were down 1% from May and active listings dropped by just 7 homes from a month earlier. West Vancouver’s detached house price is now $3,152,500, up just 0.4% from May, but 21.5% higher than in June 2020.

Richmond: You may not notice because of the construction dust coming from 1,000 new multi-family homes being built at the Richmond Centre shopping centre site, but Richmond housing sales dipped 7% in June from a month earlier, to 472 transactions, and new listings were down 15%, month-over-month. The sales-to-listing ratio is a healthy 66%, however, which keeps this a seller’s market. Richmond is considered a major destination for foreign buyers and new immigrants so the expected opening of international borders by this September is reason for confidence for home sellers and developers. The June detached house price in Richmond was unchanged from May at $1,910,500, but up almost 20% from a year earlier.

Ladner: A game-changing decision is expected “shortly”, 16 months after the federal government said funding is available for either an eight-lane new tunnel or an eight-lane bridge to replace the aging Massey Tunnel. When approved the decision could have a profound effect on Ladner property values. Ladner is a small market – just 52 home sales and 100 active listings in June – but developers and the local council apparently have big plans for the waterfront community. Buyers do too. In June, Ladner’s sales-to-listing ratio was 98%. I humbly suggest that Ladner may the prime sleeper market in Metro Vancouver.

Tsawwassen: Total June housing sales in Tsawwassen reached 70, down 26% from May but up 100% from June of last year. Active Listings were 185, compared to 270 at that time in 2020, and 182 at the end of May; New listings in June were down 22% compared to May 2021 and down 14% compared to June 2020. This remains a strong seller’s market, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 70% compared to 74% in May.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East, like many areas, saw housing sales decline in June, dropping 8% from May to just 49 total sales. What is different here is that the sales-to-listing ratio is a scorching 89%, as new listings dropped nearly 30%. There is only a 2-month supply of homes for sale if the current trends continue. The benchmark house price in East Burnaby is now $1,440,000, down 2% from May, the biggest month-over-month drop and the lowest house price in Burnaby.

Burnaby North: The next phase of what will be 13 new residential towers at the Amazing Burnaby site in North Burnaby goes to public hearing June 29, so this area will apparently continue to see a good supply of strata product. This is welcomed because new listings of existing homes for sale fell 21% in June compared to May and there was only 519 active listings in June compared to 215 sales. The sales-to-listing ratio is 70% so there is no shortage of demand in what is a strong seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Townhouse buyers looking for value should consider South Burnaby, which borders three municipalities and has lower townhouse prices than any of them. In June, the typical South Burnaby townhouse sold for $702,200. This is $300,000 less than in East Vancouver; $223,000 less than in Richmond; and $120,000 below the benchmark price in New Westminster. Also, Burnaby South townhouse prices are up just 8% from a year ago, compared to double-digit increases in its three neighbouring municipalities. Burnaby South also has Burnaby’s lowest priced detached houses and condo apartments. This may help explain why Burnaby South total home sales posted the smallest sales decline of all Burnaby markets in June, down 6% from May.

New Westminster: The Royal City is becoming a condo market, seen in the tower construction on the Quay and the sales performance so for this year, which has seen 702 condo apartments sell, up from 340 at the same time last year. Of the 154 total residential sales in June in New Westminster, 106 were condos, which sold for a median price of less than $550,000, the second-lowest price in Greater Vancouver. A key reason is that younger buyers have embraced New West. A recent national survey ranked New Westminster as the No. 1 B.C. city for Millennial home buyers. There is only a 2-month supply of all types of homes in New Westminster, however, as 61 per cent of listings sold in June. If you want to get into the New West action, you may want to get moving.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam, where the mayor is the former president of the B.C. homebuilders association, is doing a lot of little things right and big things brilliantly. Coquitlam was an early adapter of smaller lots and laneway houses.

Its giant Burke Mountain residential community is a huge success, its multi-faceted development at SkyTrain-linked Coquitlam Centre is forging ahead with major partners and now the city has plans for a rural-type subdivision in its Hazel-Coy area along the Coquitlam River. Details to be announced later this year, but plans call for 950 new homes over 100 acres. Coquitlam home sales were 329 in June, up 52% from June 2020, even though active listings were down 12% in the same period. The sales-to-listing ratio is 72%, an indication that many buyers are eager to buy into Coquitlam’s vision.

Port Moody: Port Moody appears to have more interest in approving rental apartments than strata projects, but the condos being developed are increasingly sophisticated: one will boast a waterfall, another a day care; another with Inlet views from a rooftop patio. Most Port Moody condos are fairly new, dating to just before and after the arrival of SkyTrain. This explains the current median condo price of $680,000, the highest in the Tri-Cities. Still, 263 condos have sold in the city in the past six months, more than double the number in the first half of 2020. The entire housing market is solid, with sales of 95 units in June, up 50% from June 2020, and a sales-to-listing ratio of 62%.

Port Coquitlam: The biggest residential development planned for Port Coquitlam is social housing, but buyers can also find comfort here, with median condo prices at under $500,000 and both detached houses and townhouse prices the lowest in the Tri-Cities. Comfort is appealing: the sales to listing ratio in June was 84%, the highest in the Tri-Cities and among the top in Greater Vancouver. Port Coquitlam is in close proximity to the giant Coquitlam Centre development, but at lower cost.

Pitt Meadows: Like many more rural markets, Pitt Meadow saw a sharp drop in total residential sales in June, with transactions dropping 19% from May to just 44 units. New Listings in June were down 6% compared to May 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 1-month’s supply, but the strong sellers’ market is a bit muted, with 73% of new listings selling in June, down from 84% in May.

Maple Ridge: Affordable, growing Maple Ridge saw 244 home sales in June, down 15% from May but 85% higher than in June 2020. The benchmark composite home price is $996,800, up 27.5% from year ago, but virtually unchanged from May at among the lowest in Greater Vancouver. Condo prices dipped 0.4% from May to $428,400 in June, the lowest in the entire region. Seller’s market conditions continue, with a sales-to-listing ratio at a startling 89% in June. With just 383 active listings on the market, prices will likely increase this summer.

Surrey: The second-largest city in the Lower Mainland saw price increases cooling in June, with average house prices, which had soared 27% from a year earlier, eking out a 0.5% increase from May to $1,511,707 in June. Sales of detached houses plunged 29.8% from May, to 421, however, an indication that the cooling may become a chill. Townhouse transactions, down 19.5% month-over-month, and condo apartment sales, down 25.3% from May, followed the downward trend. The average Surrey townhouse price in June was $747,256, while the average condo sold for $468,319, with both prices down fractionally from May.


Download June Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


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Potential Immigration the wild card in Metro housing market


“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

 

March housing sales skyrocketed more than 126% higher than in March 2020 – the month the COVID-19 pandemic began – to the highest monthly sales pace ever recorded in Greater Vancouver.

The composite benchmark home price leaped 9.9% in March from a year earlier and detached house prices surged nearly 18% higher to all-time high of $1.7 million.

The unprecedented action of 5,843 sales in the month – more than 174 sales every day – blew past housing forecasts and eclipsed the former all-time sales record set in March of 2016, long recognized as the peak year for housing sales in the region.

Dexter agents have been running on the frontline of the current pace, and we are detecting some buyer fatigue, which is understandable. This market can’t continue at this level forever and, as we’ve seen in previous years, March can be the high point of the year for housing sales.

There could be some truth in that theory, but this year and this market is consistently shattering all the traditions.


We believe there is one wild card yet to be played and it could shift the housing market into hyperdrive later this year. This is a potential rebound of international buyers and immigration, which were credited for sparking high home sales in the mid-1980s and in 2016-18 and could do so again in 2021.


In March of 2020 foreign buyers accounted for 24 residential property transactions in Metro Vancouver, despite the provincial 20% tax on homes. But, after COVID-19 travel restrictions hit, that dropped to single-digits per month. We believe pent-up demand and a war chest is building and it could be unleashed on the Vancouver-area housing market later this year.

For instance, according to recent report from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), $43.6 billion was transferred from troubled Hong Kong to Canada in 2020, and this, FINTRAC said, does not include transfers via cryptocurrencies, between financial institutions, or transfer under $10,000.

As well, Canada was posting the highest population growth in the developed world prior to COVID-19, according to Statistics Canada, with its 1.4% annual growth rate in 2019 more than twice as high as the U.S. and Great Britain, which tied for second place. The Canadian government has increased its annual immigration quota to 400,000 people per year. The inflow has been stalled by the pandemic but when that ends the rush into Canada will begin. Wild as the current Metro Vancouver market is right now, it may be the calm before the storm.

And with some calls to cool the market, and concern over low interest rates creating challenges when rates do eventually rise, we have to remember that Canada has one of the soundest lending practices in the world and with the current Stress Test in place, buyers are qualifying at rates much higher than we are seeing in the market place right now. So, while demand side measures are easy for governments to tinker with and implement, supply side realities need to be a focus or this rush of demand will once again be pushed into the future and create challenges yet again.

Greater Vancouver: There was a welcome uptick in new listings in March compared to a year earlier, but the new arrivals were not enough to match buyer demand. Listings for detached houses increased 122% from March 2020, but sales increased 124% Townhouse listings were up by 122%, but that was nearly matched by the 112% increase in sales. In the condominium market, 64% more apartments were added to the market compared to a year earlier, but March sales surged 128% higher.

Despite a record-high benchmark price of $1,700,200, detached houses led the March market, accounting for 34% all transactions, compared to a 46% share by the condominium sector. Townhouse buyers accounted for only 19% of the market, but this is partially due to a severe lack of inventory. As of March there was only a one-month supply of townhouses in all of Greater Vancouver. This resulted in multiple offers that drove benchmark townhouse prices in March up 10.4% from a year earlier and nearly 5% higher than in February 2021, to $872,000, a record high.

As we predicted last month, strata sales are ramping up, led by condominium apartments which continue to represent the most affordable housing option. With the benchmark condo price rising an average of 3% per month since last October, it reached $715,800 in March, also an unprecedented high.

Vancouver Westside: The price of a Vancouver Westside detached house in March was $3,286,200. That is up nearly 4% , or about $131,000, from the start of this year, but benchmark detached prices are still 5% below what they were in 2018, so there appears room for further appreciation. There were 148 detached sales in March, which was up from 87 in February and 108 in March 2020. Sales of townhouses in March were very strong, with the 108 sales more than double the 56 sold in the same month last year. The townhouse price reflects this, at a median of $1,550,000 in March, it was nearly $200,000 higher than a month earlier. Wow. The real action was in the condo market, however. With 628 transactions in March – by far the highest of any Metro Vancouver community – the median price spiked to $816,700, up 7.5% , or about $61,000, from January 1 2021.

As an aside, anyone interested in Point Grey real estate should plan to attend a series of public sessions on the development of the 90-acre Jericho Lands ( bound by West 4th Avenue, Highbury Street, West 8th Avenue, and West Point Grey Park) that will run from April 10-19 and outline plans for the biggest residential development in recent Westside history. Register through shapeyourcity.ca

Vancouver East Side: Vancouver’s East Side is seeing an acute shortage of housing, and the entrenched NIMBYism in key SkyTrain-served neighbourhoods will likely keep the supply in check. In March, for instance, there were 384 listings for East Side condos but there were 313 sales, or 82% of all the listings. There is now less than a one-month supply. A major developer has issued a proposal to build 520 condos in three towers on the old Safeway site across from the Commercial-Broadway SkyTrain station but it has already been met with protests. It will be years, before supply matches demand, which points to further increases in East Side condo prices, which were already 3% higher, year-over-year, in March to $619,000.

The townhouse supply is even tighter. Only 11 new townhouses are under construction in East Vancouver and, in the first three months of this year there were just 348 listings of resale townhouses and 68% of them sold. As a result, the median townhouse price reached $1,210,000 in March, the highest level in history. Median detached house prices on the East Side in March hit $1,780,000 as sales more than doubled from a year earlier, to 244 transactions, which, incidentally, is 40% higher than on the neighbouring Westside.

North Vancouver: About 63% of all new listings for detached houses in North Vancouver in March sold, a clear seller’s market, with the benchmark price tracking 19.4% higher from a year earlier to $1,853,000, and up 8.8% from the start of the year.

Townhouse sellers were often dealing with multiple offers in March, a reflection of low supply and high demand, which drove the benchmark price of the 87 sales to $1,075,000, up nearly 10% from a year ago. North Vancouver has a total of 2,863 under construction, but reports show that the inventory of complete and unsold condos was just 25 units available as of March 1. A big new project is underway just west of the Lonsdale Quay, but it will take at least a decade for those 700 new condos to complete. Meanwhile, condo sales were up 105% in March from a year earlier, to 203 transactions, but price increases are moderate, advancing 5.2%, year-over-year to a benchmark of $615,200.

West Vancouver: Detached houses are dominant in exclusive West Vancouver, where the benchmark price for a detached house in March was $3,043,400, up a startling 19.2% from March of last year, a cash increase of more than $540,000. Detached house sales increased 139% from March 2020, to 98, which was more than townhouse and condo sales combined.

Sixteen townhouses sold in March, while 32 condo apartments transacted at a benchmark of $1,143,300, up 11% from the same month last year. This is a sustained seller’s market with the supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply in March.

Richmond: There is now only a 2-month inventory of total residential units on the Richmond market after sales surged 128% in March from the same period last year, to 786 transactions.

Price increases have been dramatic. The median price of a detached house sold in March was $1,850,000, up nearly $100,000 from a month earlier and $250,000 higher than in March of last year. History has shown that Richmond attracts more buyers from abroad than nearly any other market in Metro Vancouver, so we expect detached prices will continue to accelerate when borders open up, because the 106% year-over-year March surge in new listings is not enough to meet demand. Condominiums, which dominated the Richmond market with 384 sales in March, have seen relative price stability with median prices advancing 6.7% year-over-year to $588,000. But, with a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 74% in March, condos are in a strong seller’s market with multiple offers being seen.

Burnaby East: One of the more affordable markets in Greater Vancouver is seeing intense buyer demand, with total sales up 159% in March compared to a year earlier, the highest increase in Burnaby. Even with a 58% increase in new listings in March, there were just 100 total homes for sale in the community, or about a 1-month supply as of month’s end. The sales-to-listing ratio is running at 69%, which means the supply is dwindling in a seller’s market and prices are rising. If you are a detached-house owner in Burnaby East and have considered listing, now may be a prime time to come to market. The benchmark price of a house was $1,380,700 million in March, up nearly 5% or about $65,000, from a month earlier.

Burnaby North: The final major-brand retailers are moving into the recently completed Brentwood shopping centre development, where thousands of new condominiums have already been built. The massive mixed-use project has spurred demand for all types of homes in the area, with total sales up 158% in March from a year earlier and 74% higher than in February. The large inventory of condominiums – 237 new listings in March – has kept price increases restrained. The benchmark condo price is now $637,600 – about $50,000 below the Lower Mainland average - but with 84% of listings selling in March and most of the new Brentwood condo towers complete, condo values are forecast to increase.

Burnaby South: If you have driven through Metrotown recently you have seen the incredible construction pace that now defines the future of Burnaby’s official downtown. The blast radius of the development is apparent in the sale prices of both detached houses – which have been rising by 7.4% month-over-month this year and reached $1,696,200 in March – and townhouses, where the benchmark price is up 6.6% from a year ago to $819,000. Burnaby South is also as one of the hottest condo sales markets in the Lower Mainland, yet condo price increases are relatively stable, still 6.1% below the 2018 peak at $682,700 as of the end of March. This may represent an opportunity for condo investors.

New Westminster: Condominium investors, I hate to say, will want to keep an eye on condo rentals in the Royal City. On March 30, the city won a BC Supreme Court ruling that cements B.C.’s first bylaw that allows retroactive rezoning of condos to rental units in six specific rental buildings. So far about 270 units are affected, but there is no guarantee the bylaw won’t be extended. This may explain a 54% increase in condo listings in the first three months of this year compared to the same period in 2020, including 209 new listing in March. We expect condo listings to increase, which should keep the current median price of $547,200 from increasing dramatically. Detached house prices in New Westminster, meanwhile, were up 14.4% in March from a year earlier to $1,230,000, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 51%, reflecting a modest seller’s market.

Coquitlam: There is a plan that owners of older stratas and detached houses in Coquitlam should be aware of as the vaccine rollout brings an end to the pandemic. This is the developer demand for property that can be developed into higher density residential, either aging strata projects on large lots or houses that can be drawn together into land assemblies. Demand waned during the pandemic but is now coming back to life, due primarily to an aggressive City of Coquitlam development strategy that covers 1,789 acres radiating from the Coquitlam Town Centre near Lougheed Highway and Pinetree Way. Any potential buyers should get up to speed on the master plan by visiting the city’s web site. (There is even a virtual-reality tour available.)

Total Coquitlam housing sales soared 129% in March compared to a year earlier, and detached houses led the price increase, up a startling 20% to $1,433,800. Townhouse prices advanced 11.2% to $757,000 and condo prices were up 6% year-over-year to $560,700.

Port Moody: Savvy owners of older townhouses in the Woodland Park area are likely watching closely as a new 23-acre planned development inches through Port Moody’s approval process.

A developer’s plan for construction of about 1,840 homes over the next decade received first reading March 24 after more than a year of discussion. Today, 19 buildings with 200 townhouses, all of built more than 40 years ago, are on the site. The land is in the 1000-1100 block of Cecile Drive near Clark Road. Owners in the surrounding area should be aware that developers could be scouting for strata windups and land assemblies, but should also be cognizant of Port Moody’s lengthy and fickle approval process. Meanwhile, total home sales in

Port Moody increased 148% in March compared to a year earlier. The median price of a detached house is now $1,193,000, up 22.5% from March 2020, while townhouse values increased 7% to $694,700, but still remain less expensive that condo apartments, which were selling for a benchmark of $697,800 in March. This reflects the many newer condos on the market, and the aging stock of existing townhouses.

Port Coquitlam: Port Coquitlam offers the lowest house prices in the Tri-City area, with a detached house benchmark price of $1,226,400 in March, up 17.2% from a year earlier. Townhouses were up by similar amount, to $753,600, while condo prices saw a more modest increase of 8% to $501,500, or about $60,000 less than in neighbouring Coquitlam. However, with a lack of new construction recently and total sales up 114% year-over-year, there is only a 1-month supply of all type of homes in Port Coquitlam and the sales-to-listing ratio is 65%, an indication of a seller’s market and potential price increases.

Pitt Meadows: The sales bloom faded slightly in Pitt Meadows in March, with total homes transactions of 53, down 5% from February and up a relatively modest 51% from March of 2020 – a reflection on the amount of total stock available with there being half a month to 1 month’s supply of homes available. Detached house prices increased markedly, however, leaping 27.4% year-over-year to a record high of $1,143,000. The sales-to-listings ratio dipped to 67% in March, down from 85% in February, as new listing increased 65% from February to 53 units. Pitt Meadows is catching a trend towards people relocating from the city to smaller, more affordable towns. In March, buyers could find townhouses for around $640,000 and condo apartments for less than $400,000. However, with an extreme seller’s market, the lower-priced units are seeing multiple offers this spring.

Maple Ridge: Even with a 157% surge in total March sales compared to March of last year and detached house prices increasing 20.7% year-over-year, Maple Ridge remains a relative bargain. Its benchmark detached house price was $1,043,900 in March, nearly $500,000 below the Lower Mainland benchmark and $700,000 less than in Greater Vancouver. Yet, multiple offers are common as the sales-to-listing ratio has been north of 80% since the start of the year. New townhouse projects are selling out fairly quickly and the resale townhouse price has spiked 18.6% from last year to $634,400. The typical condo apartment sells for $403,900, up 12.3%, year-over-year.

Ladner: The small town of Ladner in South Delta posted a 225% increase in total sales in March, to 101, compared to March of 2020, the biggest increase in the Lower Mainland. Its 23.2% increase in prices for detached houses was also one of the highest, with March ending with house prices at $1,205,800, which is about $500,000 less than Richmond, the next biggest city. There has been a lot of new strata units built in Ladner over the past year, and more to come. The supply has kept townhouse prices at a benchmark of $702,000, still 3.2% below the 2018 peak, and condo apartment values at $548,400 in March, up about 9% from a year ago but 1.4% below the price three years ago. A total sales-to-listing ratio at 74% in March, however, portends increasing prices across the board.

Tsawwassen: Tsawwassen has been largely a no-go community for developers for many years. The long-delayed Southland community for about 850 homes is slowly taking place, but no large housing projects have been built in a decade. In the 16 months to the first of March 2021 only nine homes were started, all of them rental apartments. This is reflected in the current reality, with multiple offers on the mere 166 active listings available and a sales-to-listing of 77% in March in an extreme seller’s market. The benchmark detached house price soared 21.3% year-over-year to $1,312,100 in March, and is now 112% higher than 10 years ago. Many people want to buy in Tsawwassen, which has driven townhouse prices up nearly 8% from March 2020 and condo prices up 10.8%, year-over-year, to $588,800. For investors, this sunny community is one of the hottest market for potential price appreciation in Greater Vancouver because virtually no new homes are being built.

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February 2021: Watch for the rise of the strata market

 

February is traditionally a ho-hum period in residential real estate but this year, as with so much of the recent Metro Vancouver market, this February proved exceptional. Housing sales hit the highest monthly level since June 2017, with prices arcing nearly 9% higher than a year earlier to a composite benchmark of $1,084,000. The typical detached house now sells for more than $1.62 million –an average increase of $221,000 from February 2020 – with sales up 80% from a year ago.


Detached houses have been the headline news in Metro Vancouver for the past year, but we believe February marked the beginning of a major shift towards the townhouses and condominium sector.

February townhouses sales were up 82% year-over-year and condo apartment sales were 65% higher. Together, strata property sales accounted for nearly 65% of all February transactions, with condo apartments leading all sectors with a blistering pace of 62 sales every day. Condo developers reported “a sense of urgency” in new condo sales in February as 1,400 new condos started construction and 1,759 existing condos sold.

It may come down simply to supply. There is a lack of detached houses to meet demand, despite a 21% spike in new listings in February, and there has been a chronic shortage of townhouses, with just a 1.5-month supply now available. In Port Moody and Maple Ridge there were almost twice as many townhouse sales as active listings in February. And on Vancouver’s West Side the number of townhouse sales in February were the highest since June 2017.

Investors, we believe, are pivoting to condos, looking towards the easing of pandemic regulations that will bring vibrancy back to downtowns and foreign students back to Metro Vancouver campuses. Affordability is part of the equation. In the past year, condo prices have increased just 2.5%, while townhouse prices jumped 7.2% and detached houses soared 13.7%. In East Vancouver, as one example, the typical condo apartment sells for $599,000 while a neighbouring detached house sells for $1.58 million.


For an increasing number of buyers, condominiums are now the first, the smartest and only choice.


What to expect going forward...

 

We are now experiencing a perfect storm that is churning housing demand and prices to unprecedented heights. Mortgage interest rates are at the lowest level in our lifetime, even our parents lifetime. This combines with intense buyer demand and simply not enough listings, all in an environment where the home is now the centre for living and work for thousands of families. Multiple offers are now the majority of transactions. We don’t see that changing anytime soon.


Greater Vancouver: Total housing units sold in February were 3,852 were up 57% from the 2,454 in January 2021, 76% higher than February 2020, and a startling 155% increase compared to February 2019. Total active listings were at 8,851 at month end, compared to 9,894 at the same time last year and 8,831 at the end of January 2021; New listings in February were up 12% compared to January 2021, up 26% compared to February 2020 and up 30% compared to February 2019. Yet the sales-to-listings ratio, a key metric, February was 74%, signally a robust seller’s market, and perhaps strongest performance in history. In February of 2016, the former peak year for housing sales, the sales ratio was 56%.


February 2021 Highlights

  • Least expensive detached house: Maple Ridge, $972,600

  • Most expensive detached house: Westside, Vancouver, $3.3 million

  • Least expensive condo apartment: Port Coquitlam, $481,300

  • Least expensive townhouse: Maple Ridge, $594,300

  • Highest annual home sales increase: Tsawwassen, up 138%

    Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.


Vancouver Westside: Home buyers in Canada’s most expensive community should keep a close eye on long-term mortgage rates now because the five-year Canadian government bond rate has doubled since February 5 after barely budging for a decade, rising 45 basis points (0.45% ) to 0.88% as of February 26. The five-year fixed mortgage is tied to the bond rate, unlike variable rate mortgages. The current bond rate has already surpassed the forecast for all of 2021. If you are looking at locking in a new mortgage, the sooner is better.

A total of 592 homes sold on the Westside in February from 1,194 active listings, for a sales-to-listing ratio of 63%, the highest level in at least five years. Sales of condos dominated , with 440 condos purchased, compared to 87 detached houses and 63 townhouses. The price gap between sectors is becoming a chasm. The typical Westside detached house sold for a benchmark of $3,232,500 in February, compared to $735,000 for a condo and just over $1.3 million for a townhouse. Detached house prices were up 8.5% from a year earlier – ,nearly $275,000 – while condo apartment prices were down 0.2% and townhouse prices rose just 2.4%.

Vancouver East Side: Investors take note: East Side condo apartment prices have not budged in two years and now, at a $599,000 benchmark, are $13,000 less than in 2018. Townhouse prices are 2% lower now than three years ago, at a current benchmark of $910,000. However, all East Side strata prices have been edging up since December. Both have increased though in the last 6 to 8 months.

The East Side story is a positive one of increased transit, high-tech job growth and condo prices that are lower than in Burnaby and far below the Westside. There was a is surge in East Side condo and townhouse sales in February and this market appears ripe for rapid price appreciation.

Total East Side housing sales in February, at 408, were up 59% from January and 67% higher than in February 2020 and 146% above the 166 sales in February 2019. Despite an increase in listings, the sales-to-new-listing ratio was 70%, compared to 51% a month earlier and 55% in February 2020. Townhouses were seeing multiple offers with the sales-to-new-listing ratio at a stunning 105% in February, meaning virtually every townhouse listed sold.

North Vancouver: Both the City and District of North Vancouver are regulating new homes to meet the highest energy regulations under the BC Step Code, effective July 1, 2021. Perhaps better for the environment, the changes can add $40,000 or more to the price of a new detached house, according to industry estimates. Something to consider if you are planning to build or buy a new house this year.

North Vancouver is running out of homes for sale faster than nearly any other Metro region. There is now only a one-month supply, based on current listing and sales. In February total listings were 469 units, while sales reached 318 units. The result is an extreme sellers’ market, with a sales-to- listing ratio of 74%.

West Vancouver: February housing sales in West Vancouver, at 102 transactions, more than doubled from a month earlier, rising 127% from January and up 57% from February of last year. Sales were also 162% above February 2019. As usual, detached houses led the market, accounting for 80% of all transactions, despite house prices rising 16.8% from a year earlier to a benchmark of $2,972,400. West Vancouver remains a seller’s market, though more modest than in other regions, with a sales-to-listing ratio in February of 63%, which was up from 23% in January and from a 40% ratio a year earlier.

Richmond: With a sales-to-listing ratio of 77% in February, Richmond has about a three-month supply of residential units and it is being whittled down fairly quickly.

Total Richmond housing sales in February reached 453 units, up from 277 a month earlier and from 253 in February 2020, and a 192% increase from the 155 homes sold in February 2019. The benchmark price of a detached house increased 9.6% year-over-year to $1,651,800, but buyers should note that this price has been rising an average of $24,700 per month for the past three months. Condo sales in February reached 197 units, with benchmark prices up 6.5% year-over-year to $683,200. In the same period, typical townhouse prices advanced nearly 9% to $849,900.

Burnaby East: There were a total of 141 housing sales in February, up 46% from January and 28% higher than in February 2020. Burnaby East has among the lowest-price detached house prices in the region, with its benchmark of $1,317,900 about $300,000 below the Greater Vancouver benchmark. Active listings were at 84 at month end compared to 91 at the same time last year and 67 at the end of January. There is two month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 64% compared to 65% in January 2021, 84% in February 2020 and 47% in February 2019. The sellers’ market is strengthening.

Burnaby North: This market has become intense with multiple offers on detached houses. One listing recently attracted 43 bids and sold for $300,000 above the asking price. The stats reflect what is going on in the home of the Amazing Brentwood and the new condos that surround it. Total sales were up 93% from the same month last year, to 193 transactions this February. Detached house prices have been rising more than 1% per month since last September and reached $1,572,500 in February. New listings in February were up 9% compared to January 2021, up 37% compared to February 2020 and up 66% compared to February 2019., yet the total inventory of listings is down to a 2 month’s supply. A strong sellers’ market, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 73%, compared to a ratio of 52% in February 2020.

Burnaby South: Anchored by Metrotown, considered Burnaby’s downtown, Burnaby South accounted for 201 of the 525 Burnaby home sales in February, with sales increasing 40% from January and up 91% year-over-year. Benchmark detached house prices were 10.2% higher than in February 2020, to $1,629,300, but the typical condo price was virtually unchanged year-over-year, at $664,700. Townhouse prices have been slowly climbing 0.5% every month for the past six months and reached $806,200 in February. Sales are strong, representing 74% of available listings.

New Westminster: That pounding beat you hear in the Royal City is pile driving on the waterfront as the latest and tallest new condo towers begin to rise above the Westminster Quay, in this instance two towers of 43 and 53 storeys. New Westminster’s housing market is now defined by condominium apartments, which represented 111 of the total of 164 transactions in February. Condo prices were up 3% year-over-year to $532,900, while condo sales increased 69% compared to both one month and one year earlier. New Westminster remains relatively affordable for all types of homes. Despite detached house prices increasing 11.9% from a year ago, the city has the lowest price for a SkyTrain-served market in Greater Vancouver, at a benchmark of $1,177,800. The overall sales-to-listing ratio, at 74% in February, reflects the strong sellers’ market.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam was an early adapter of laneway homes and small-lot, detached-house development, and now the city is considering zoning changes in six southwest neighbourhoods where residents have voiced support for higher density. These pockets include Austin-Poirier, Blue Mountain-Quadling and Whitting-Apian, among others. The areas are fairly close to SkyTrain stations and most of the detached houses were built 40 years ago. The plan is still in the consultation phase, but it is something local owners, buyers and sellers should be aware of.

Coquitlam detached house sales in February totalled 105, up from 76 in January and 67 in February of 2020. The benchmark detached house price posted a year-over-year increase of 16% to $1,363,000. Coquitlam added 71 new listings to the townhouses inventory in February, but with 69 sales, the supply is dwindling and prices were up 7.8% year-over-year to $725,100. Total home sales in the month, at 322, were up 43% from January and 64% higher than in February of last year. The sales-to-listing ratio in Coquitlam was 79% in February, a very strong buyer’s market.

Port Moody: The waterfront, SkyTrain-linked city of Port Moody is in the midst of dramatic change – two new development plans alone call for about 5,000 new homes over the next two decades – but it remains a quiet community backdropped by the massive 2,700-acre Belcarra Regional Park on its north shore. The green space and oceanfront are among the reasons detached house prices have soared 17.5% over the past year to $1,655,900, fourth-highest in Metro Vancouver markets. Port Moody is also distinctive in that its February benchmark condo price, at $671,900, is higher than local townhouse prices, at $660,400, evidence of the modern condo apartments built since SkyTrain arrived. There is only a two-month supply of homes in Port Moody and the February sales-to-listing ratio was 81%, representing one of the strongest sellers’ markets in Metro Vancouver.

Port Coquitlam: Port Coquitlam is rather tucked away but it should not be overlooked for buyers looking for value and potential. The little city has the lowest condo apartment prices in Greater Vancouver, at a February benchmark of $481,300. The secret is apparently getting out, though, as condo sales this year were up about 30% year-over-year to 81 transactions, including 44 in February. Future condo development is coming, and about 20 detached house lots in a six-acre wedge of land on Westwood Street, where the city is planning its first high-density development zone, will be affected. The benchmark price of a detached house in Port Coquitlam is now $1,270,000, but prices have risen 19.1% year-over-year, the fastest increase in the Tri-City area and one of the largest in Metro Vancouver. This is a town for investors to watch.

Maple Ridge: The pandemic work-from-home trend has made Maple Ridge one of the most popular destinations for people seeking more living space and lower housing costs. The result is predictable: overall housing sales have increased 64% year over year and were up 51% in February from a month earlier to 292 units. The benchmark price of a detached house soared 18.2% to $972,600. Townhouse prices are up 13.4% to $594,300 and condo apartment prices have increased nearly 9%, to $387,500, from a year ago. All of these prices are the lowest in Greater Vancouver, but a low inventory may drive values higher. There is now a mere one-month supply of total listings on the Maple Ridge market and the overall sales-to-listing ratio in February was a startling 81%. This is an extreme seller’s market. The shortage won’t end soon. As of February 1, just 185 new townhomes and 189 detached houses were under construction in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows area, and total housing starts in all of 2020 tallied just 213 units.

Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows total housing sales more than doubled in February from a month earlier, rising 118% to 48 transactions, and were up 78% from a year earlier, but active listings plunged to just 38, down from 86 a year earlier and 42 at the end of January 2021. The sales-to-listing ratio is 80%, one of the highest in the Metro region, as is the annual price increase of 20.7% for detached houses, to $1,066,700. Townhouse prices are increasing an average of 4% per month and reached $651,000 as of February. This small market is one of the hottest for housing sales in the region.

Ladner: The south Delta community of Ladner led Greater Vancouver’s mainland in price increase for detached houses, up 20.9% year-over-year to $1,159,000 in February. Detached house prices are now rocketing up by 7.7% per month, also the highest such increase in the region. Townhouse prices are up 6% from February of last year to $693,900 and condo apartment prices reached $537,600, up 5.5% from a year earlier in this very active market. With a 74% sales-to-listing ratio and few new homes being completed, total listings represent a mere two-month supply.

Tsawwassen: This sunny region of Delta has a blazing housing market, with intense demand taking up the 91% year-over-year increase in listings seen in February. Sales have more than doubled from a year ago, with 78 transactions in February, up 138% from a year earlier. Townhouse prices edged up 2.4%, year-over-year, to $640,500 but the real surge was in detached houses to $1,273,100, up 15.7% from a year earlier and 3.4% higher than in January 2021. The sales-to-new-listing ratio is 74% and, if the current sales pace continues, Tsawwassen will run out of listings in about eight weeks. So far this year, 359 new homes are under construction in Tsawwassen, including 73 townhomes, 251apartments (some of which are rentals) and just 39 new detached houses, but most of the new units are already pre-sold.

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Very Honoured.

What a Year!

Thank you to all my Family, Friends, Clients and Colleagues, I could not have done it without YOU!

Repost from Dexter Realty

It's with immense pride we share those from our Dexter team who qualified for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Medallion Club this year.

⭐️ They are associates, partners, mentors, friends, but today we honour you as the incredible agents that lead our industry.

They exemplify professionalism and success and we're honoured to have them all represent Dexter Realty. Congratulations everyone and job well done!

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Welcome to January 2021  please fasten your seat belts

 

Some will express surprise that, as we enter the second year of a global pandemic, the rush to purchase homes in Greater Vancouver continues the startling sales pace seen in 2020. But there is a simple reason for the January surge: price appreciation as accelerating buyer demand collides with a stubborn lack of inventory.


In the past 12 months, the average price (based on dollar volume of sales) of a Greater Vancouver home has increased in value by $93,529, which is far higher than the average household income. In the detached house sector, where sales exploded in January, the average year-over-year price increase is well into the six digits. Dexter agents experienced this first hand during the last week of January as a North Burnaby detached house listing had a stunning amount of interest and showing requests. A significant number of multiple offers occurred, resulting in a sale that surpassed the $1.49 million list price. Each of these bidder was likely aware that, since January of 2020, the average detached house price in North Burnaby has increased by $283,456.

Multiple bids are being seen from West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast to south of the Fraser River and in every property sector, from detached houses to condominium apartments. In Greater Vancouver during January, 53% of new listings sold, and the sales-to-listing ratio has surpassed 50% for the past seven months. There is little relief coming in new construction. As 2021 started, only 241 detached houses and 230 townhouses had started construction across all of Metro Vancouver, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data. Of the total 1,628 new apartment starts, 28% were rentals and many of the remaining condo apartments had been pre-sold months earlier.


What to expect for the 2021 housing market? More of the same. With mortgage interest rates at 100-year-lows and home prices rising an average of nearly $8,000 per month, buyers and investors have awoken to an unprecedented buying opportunity.


Greater Vancouver: In January, 2,454 homes of all property types sold in Greater Vancouver. This compares to 1,602 in January 2020 and 1,120 in January of 2019 and a 28% increase from January of 2015, long considered the peak year for Greater Vancouver housing sales. Another telling stat: during the boom year of 2015, the benchmark January home price was $648,700. This January it was $1,056,600. Yes, we are into an unprecedented seller’s market.


Listings continue to decline, however. Total active listings in January 2021 were 8,820, down from 9,307 in January 2020 and from 11,427 in January 2018. With the current sales-to-listing ratio pace, there is a mere four months of inventory in the entire Greater Vancouver housing market.


Looking at the different types of property sales in Greater Vancouver, January 2021 detached home sales were up 41.8% year-over-year while new listings declined 0.4%; townhouse sales were up 42.8% year-over-year while new listings increased 16%; condominium apartment sales advanced 46.8% and new listings for condos increased by 27% year-over-year. Sales of detached houses in January made up 30% of all sales, compared to 27% in January 2020; townhouses represented 18% of sales, down from 20% a year earlier; and condo apartment sales made up 49% of total sales this January, compared to 51% in January 2020.


JANUARY 2021 HIGHLIGHTS

  • Average composite home price increase year-over-year in Greater Vancouver: 10.8%

  • Biggest detached house price increase year-over-year: Bowen Island (up 30%)

  • Biggest detached house price increase, mainland: Port Coquitlam and Pitt Meadows (up 15.4%)

  • Lowest benchmark condo price: Maple Ridge ($375,000)

  • Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver


Vancouver Westside: The Westside is the traditional bellwether for aspirational house buyers in Canada and January will be a month to remember, with detached sales rising 100% compared to the same month in either 2020 or 2019. The average price of the 68 Westside houses sold in January was $3,718,280, an increase of $450,000 from a year earlier.

In the townhouse sector, the 38 sales in January matched the record-setting December 2020 sales pace and were up 26% from January 2020. A slight increase in inventory  106 new listings were added in the month - kept average January townhouse prices in check, rising about $20,000 from a month earlier to $1,411,711.

The Westside condominium market saw January sales increasing 35% from January 2020, to 285 transactions. This was the lowest monthly sales level since July 2020, which may be a reaction to a frustrating lack of listings. Just 639 new listings came to the market in January, down 21% from the same month a year earlier. The average price of a Westside condo apartment is now $934,550, up more than $38,000 from December 2020, and multiple bids are not uncommon.

Vancouver Eastside: The line between the Eastside and Westside of Vancouver is rapidly blurring and this January was the latest indication. More detached houses sold on the Eastside – 109 – in January than on the Westside  68  a trend apparent for some time. Over the past five years, the price of an Eastside detached house increased 24% while it advanced just 9% on the Westside. In the past 12 months, the average Eastside house price increased by $20,000 per month – to $1,829,643 in January - yet prices are still half that of a detached house west of Quebec Street. Watch for rising demand and prices for Eastside houses and residential land from Renfrew Street to Mount Pleasant as the new Broadway Corridor SkyTrain line moves closer to reality. New Listings for Eastside houses in January were 175, resulting in a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 62%, slightly above the 2020 average.

Eastside townhouse sales were relatively robust in January. The 48 transactions in the month were down from the 66-unit per month average in the fourth quarter of 2020, but up 60% from January 2020. New listings, at 103, were the highest in two months and the sales-to-new-listing ratio was a healthy 47%. The average price of an Eastside townhouse in January reached $1,152,453, up 2.6% from a year earlier.

While Eastside condo sales in January were up from the 78 units In January 2020, the 99 sales were at the lowest monthly level since June of last year. The average condo price now is $680,177, up 10% from January 2020 and approximately $48,000 higher than in December 2020. With 216 new listings in January, the sales-to-new-listing ratio was 46%, indicating a seller’s market.

North Vancouver: Sales of detached houses in North Vancouver soared 87% in January compared to January 2020, but new listings fell by 33%, and the effect was reflected in prices. The average price of the 45 houses sold in January was $2,144,851, up from just over $1.89 million in December.

There were 67 new listings for townhouses in January, the highest level in five months, and 61% of them sold at an average price of $1,184,760, a price up 14% from January 2020.

After four months of hectic action with condominium apartment sales averaging 130 units per month, North Vancouver condo sales slipped to 92 in January, but represented 52% of the new listings added in the month. The average condo apartment price is now $708,656, up 15% from January 2020.

West Vancouver: Detached houses, which are the dominate property type in West Vancouver, notched 29 sales during January at an average price of $3,983,544. January sales were just eight units above January 2020 and the new listings, at 135, were up by just one house. The big difference was the January average price, which soared 21% - or $714,000  higher than in the same month a year ago.

Richmond: There was a moderate cooling of the red-hot Richmond detached house sales, with transactions dipping to 71 houses in January, the slowest monthly level since May 2020, though 36% above January 2020. With the sales-to-new listing ratio at 47%, the average house price was up nearly 5% year-over-year to $1,749,213 in January.

There was much-needed increase in townhouse listings in Richmond, with 137 units added in January, the highest level in four months. This is partly due to city zoning which has encouraged townhouse development on major Richmond streets since 2017. January sales of 64 townhouses represented 47% of all new listings. The average townhouse price in January was $911,959, up 9% from January 2020.

Condominium apartment sales in Richmond reached 141 units in January, up from 101 transactions in January 2020. With 303 new listings added, the sales-to-new-listing ratio was 47%, slightly lower than the 54% ratio seen in 2020. The average price of a Richmond condo is $613,385, up about 3% from a year earlier and approximately $49,000 above the average price in December 2020.

Burnaby East: The low inventory of detached houses was very apparent in Burnaby East, where buyers snapped up 80% of the new listings – 10  that were added to the January market. The eight houses sold went for an average of $1,560,625,up 23% from January 2020.

The townhouse market was even tighter, with the 6 sales representing 100% of the new listings added in January. The resultant multiple bids drove the average townhouse price up 17%  about $124,000  from December 2020.

Based on the current sales pace, there is only a three-month supply of condo apartments in Burnaby East, where the 13 sales in January absorbed 48% of the new listings. The January average condo price, at $607,284, compares to $563,914 year ago.

Burnaby North: The price of a detached house in Burnaby North reached a record high average of $1,704,836 in January as 22 houses sold, representing a sales-to-new listing ratio of 71%. Total active listings, at 68 in January, are at the lowest level in at least two years.

Sales of townhouses reached 22 in January, the lowest level in seven months, but this is likely a reflection of few new listings. With just 31 townhouses added to the market and active listings at two-year lows, the January sales-to-new-listing ratio was 71%. The average Burnaby North townhouse sold in January for $982,916, up 14% from January 2020.

Condo apartment sales continued the blistering pace seen in 2020, with 96 transactions in January, up 74% from January 2020. With 180 new listings, North Burnaby’s condo sales-to-new-listing ratio was 53%. The average condo price slipped down 4% from a year ago, to $597,117.

Burnaby South: With 26 detached house sales in January, transactions were close to the monthly average over the past 12 months and active listings, at 120, were also fairly constant in this very stable market. The outlier is average house prices, which have been rising steadily and reached $1,742,741 in January, up $285,000 from a year earlier.

Townhouse sales reached 30 in January, up 108% from January 2020 and higher than the 25 transactions in December 2020. With 41 new listings added, the January sales-to-new-listing ratio was 73%, compared to 54% during 2020. Townhouses in Burnaby South sold in January for an average of $1,007,309, up about $54,000 from the end of last year.

Condominium apartment sales continued the strong pace seen over the past seven months, with 87 transactions in January, representing 58% of the 150 new listing added in the month. The supply of condos is estimated at four months, if the current sales pace continues. The average condo price, at $625,937, is up from $595,215 in January 2020.

New Westminster: Detached house sales in New Westminster saw a three-fold increase in January compared to the same month last year, to 21 transactions, representing a startling sales-to-new listing ratio of 84%. The average house price

remained fairly constant in one of the more affordable housing markets in Greater Vancouver. The average house sold in January for $1,285,528, a 4.3% increase, year-over-year.

Townhouse buyers closed on 14 units in January, compared to four in the same month last year, but sales were below the 25-unit average pace over the final six months of 2020. With 28 new listings in January, the sales-to-new-listing was 50%, with the average price virtually unchanged from December 2020 at $727,435.

New Westminster’s year-over-year condo apartment market sales were higher in January, but, at 66 transaction, well below December’s 103 sales. An increase in new listings, to 159 units, kept the sales ratio at 43%, similar to the first month of 2020. The average condo price in January was $543,870, up 9% from December but down about $20,000 from January 2020.

Coquitlam: More Coquitlam detached houses sold in January 2021  76- than in Burnaby and New Westminster combined, an indication of Coquitlam’s growing popularity. The average Coquitlam detached house sold in January for $1,566,814, up 20% year-over-year, while 67% of the new listings sold.

Coquitlam’s townhouse sector saw January sales drop nearly 50% from December, to 38 transactions, but the average price was up 12% year-over-year to $864,957.

Coquitlam condo apartment sales in January, at 106 units, tracked close to the record monthly pace seen in 2020. With 149 condo listings added in January, the sales ratio was 71%, with average prices up $52,000 year-over-year at $574,407.

Port Moody: Since the extension of SkyTrain to the waterfront community, detached house prices have increased sharply. In January 2021, the average Port Moody house price hit a near-record of $1,611,733. This is up 18% from January 2019 and a startling $419,000 increase from January 2020. There were just 20 new listings for detached houses in January 2021, along with 9 sales. Multiple bids are being seen.

Port Moody has a small townhouse market, certainly not enough to meet demand. Through the last quarter of 2020, the sales-to-new-listing ratio was running at 100%. This dipped to 60% in January, with 9 sales from 15 new listings, but the average price climbed to $827,533, up from $769,900 a year earlier.

The condo inventory in Port Moody is mostly composed of new units built since the arrival of SkyTrain in 2016. There is fairly healthy selection, but units sell quickly. In January, with 28 transactions, the sales ratio to new listings was 76%, the second-highest level in a year. The average Port Moody condo price, based on 28 January sales, is now $608,357, highest in the Tri-Cities market.

Port Coquitlam: In January, the city made it easier to build laneway houses on detached-house lot by removing the need for public hearings, which is expected to fuel already hot detached-house sales. Port Coquitlam detached house sales reached 33 units in January, 2021, up from 29 in the month previous and 22 in January 2020. The average house price soared year-over-year from $875,000 to $1,211,787 in January 2021.

Port Coquitlam townhouse prices, at an average of $693,241 in January, are the lowest in the Tri-City region and have remained fairly stable, rising 4.5% year-over-year. January sales, at 18, represented 64% of the new townhouse listings in the month.

Port Coquitlam condo buyers experienced a rarity in January, as the average price of $438,247 was down from a year ago and lower than in December 2020. With just a two-month condo supply available and 49% of new listings selling in January, upward pressure on condo prices could be seen this year.

Ladner: In January, Delta eased the regulations for secondary suites in houses, eliminating the minimum 49-foot lot width and easing parking restrictions. The change will allow more house owners to include a ‘mortgage helper’ rental suite and may increase buyer demand for Ladner houses. In January, 15 detached houses sold in Ladner, representing 63% of the new listings, at an average price of $1,249,066. House sales and prices have remained fairly constant over the past year.

Ladner has seen an increase in townhouse construction over the past year, but the inventory of resale units remains tight. There were only six active listings in January, and just 1 unit sold, for $820,000.

January saw only 3 condo sales at an average price of $645,666, but buyers should know there has been a recent surge in new listings, rising to 21 units in January, the highest level since January 2020.

Tsawwassen: Detached house sales in Tsawwassen have been accelerating for some time but shifted to a higher gear in recent months. The result has been a reduction in detached-house supply to three months, and average prices rising about $90,000 in the past year. In January 30 houses sold, up from 9 in the same month last year. The average house price hit $1,363,083, up from $1,276,736 in January 2020. There were 85 total house listings on the market this January, the lowest level in more than two years.

Tsawwassen is a smallish community, and townhouse sales reflect that, with just 20 total listings and 9 sales in January. The average townhouse price is now $779,300, down slightly from January of last year.

There were 15 condo sales in January and the sales-to-new-listing ratio was 63%, signalling a seller’s market. Average condo prices, at $628,406, are up from $587,877 a year ago, mirroring price increases in much larger municipalities.

Pitt Meadows: The benchmark price of detached house in Pitt Meadows has inched above $1 million, at $1,013,200 in January 2021, a 15.4% increase year-over-year and tied with Port Coquitlam for the highest annual detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver.

Townhouse prices in Pitt Meadows in January were up 3.9% year-over-year to $622,100.

The benchmark condo apartment price increased to $603,200 in January 2021, up 6.3% from January 2020.

Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge posted the lowest benchmark in Greater Vancouver in January, at $930,900, a price up 15% year-over-year and nearly 3% higher than in December 2020.

Detached sales in the region (including neighbouring Pitt Meadows) were up 41% year-over-year to 95 transactions.

The benchmark townhouse price in Maple Ridge is $561,800, up 7.6% from this time last year and townhouse sales increased a stunning 83% to 68 units in the region. There were 79 new listings for townhouses in the regional market as of January.

Maple Ridge condominium apartment prices increased 9.1% from a year earlier in January 2021 to $373,500, the lowest benchmark condo price in Greater Vancouver, which may explain why the sales-to-new-listing ratio was an impressive 79% in January.

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“ There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be...John Lennon

Last year I started this report with John Lennon’s lyrics about the new year and hoping it was a good one… Well, the real estate market came alive, but a global pandemic isn’t what anyone would call a good year. In keeping with the legendary artist though, back in March who would have imagined that December would be a record month for the number of properties sold in that month. The analysis and questions of how this could happen during such a global crisis will be a topic for many conversations, and while record low interest rates play a part, a lot of it comes down to one simple reason: everyone’s life was turned upside down, where they live became one of the most important influences in the lives of many in 2020. And as we move through 2021 and life changes again for some, real estate will again be a focus of finding that right place to live and for some what seemed like the right place in 2020 may not actually be the right place in 2021.

 
There were 3,157 properties sold of all types in Greater Vancouver in December this year compared with 3,131 sold in November, 2,046 sales in December last year and 1,094 sold in December 2018. It was the highest number of sales for the month of December on record in Greater Vancouver, shattering the previous December highs in 2015 at 2,905 and 2003 at 2,609. Total sales for 2020 were 31,611 up 23 per cent from 2019 and 26 per cent from 2018. The number of sales in 2020 were only 6 per cent below the 20-year average – pretty incredible considering the grinding halt of activity in March, April and May. It was definitely a tale of two markets in one year with there being 11,471 sales in the first 6 months and 20,140 in the last 6 months of 2020. Multiple offers were common more than not in the last half of 2020, and more so in detached and townhomes as outdoor space and distance from those around us was coveted. While apartments in downtown Vancouver had seen less activity in comparison, that started to change as the year closed out and buyers began to see opportunity amongst the increase in active listings. We will see more activity in the apartment market as 2021 continues and vaccines become more and more available. As activity in business and events come back so too will the desire to live close to the action.
 
Looking at the different types of properties, detached home sales were up 30 per cent year over year (new listings were down 6 per cent), townhouses sales were up 31 per cent year over year (new listings were up 3 per cent), apartment sales were up 12 per cent year over year (new listings were up 13 per cent). Detached homes made up 34 per cent of all sales (32 per cent in 2019), while townhomes made up 19.5 per cent (18 per cent in 2019) and apartments 44.4 per cent (48.4 per cent in 2019).

 

So how do we sum up the year in Greater Vancouver real estate month by month?


January – Optimism for a new year after 2 very slow years
February – Market on the rise
March – Tale of two months – robust start followed by sudden halt
April – 30 more days of March
May – Can we really buy and sell real estate?
June – Yes, we can buy and sell real estate
July – Let’s buy and sell real estate
August – Vacation or buy and sell real estate? Buy and sell real estate!
September – Kids back to school, buyers and sellers will be distracted
October – Buyers and sellers not distracted – strongest month for sales in 2020
November – Market is slowing
December – Market isn’t slowing, strongest December on record

 

2020 Average Daily Listings and Sales in Greater Vancouver by Week:

 
First two weeks of March – 253 new listings, 138 sales
Last two weeks of March – 167 New Listings, 98 Sales
April – 120 new listings, 56 sales
May – 189 new listings, 75 sales
June – 274 new listings, 115 sales
July – 274 new listings, 147 sales
August - 299 new listings, 157 sales
September – 313 new listings, 176 sales
October – 272 new listings, 182 sales
November – 212 new listings, 161 sales
November 30 to December 4 – 165 new listings, 163 sales
December 7 to 11 – 147 new listings, 140 sales
December 14 to 18 – 122 new listings, 152 sales
December 21 to 25 – 68 new listings, 143 sales
December 28 to 31 – 76 new listings, 138 sales
 
The number of active listings in Greater Vancouver dropped quickly through December. Even though the number of new listings in December were 38 per cent above the 10-year average for the month, the total number of active listings at the end of December dropped to 9,096 from 13,066 at the end of October. There were 9,309 active listings at the end of December 2019. As typically happens at the end of December a number of listings expire on December 31st which resulted in there being 8,144 as the calendar turned to 2021. At the start of 2020 there were 8,231 active listings in Greater Vancouver. Detached homes made up 42 per cent of total active listings at the start of 2020 while only 32 per cent of current active listings are detached properties in 2021. Townhouse and apartments were 51 per cent in 2020 and 62 per cent currently. Demand for detached homes continues to be strong and with the limited number of homes available, there will be strong competition amongst buyers resulting in multiple offers and pressure on prices as we move through 2021. If a pandemic doesn’t trip up the real estate market, vaccines and recovery surely will have more of a positive impact in activity going forward.
 
What has truly driven the real estate market in 2020 and will it continue to drive the market in 2021? Interest rates are at the lowest we’ve seen, enabling buyers to take advantage of increased purchasing power and opportunity. Buyers that had been on the fence in 2018 and 2019 due to tightened lending restrictions and a hesitation in the market as buyers and sellers wanted to see what would come of increased taxes on purchasing real estate and attempts to curtail demand. The first decade of this century actually saw 8 per cent more real estate transactions than 2010 to 2019. Considering the increase in the number of homes available in the last 10 years compared to 2000 to 2009, it shows that pressure was building for movement to happen. Bring on the pandemic and it jump started movement on a very large scale. To think this movement has been captured in the last 6 months alone, would be a naïve position to take. With interest rates likely to remain low for the next few years, savings rates at all-time highs as consumers are spending less on social and recreational activities and the amount of money pumped into the economy by government, there’s no reason to think sales activity will slow in the near future. As has been the case and will continue to be the case, there just are not enough homes available to meet the demand of buyers in our market place. As much as many resists the notion that real estate should be a commodity, it is. And one in which many take great pride in living in.  

“When the pandemic began in March, the housing market came to a near standstill. We knew however, that shelter needs don’t go away in times of crisis, they intensify,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said, “The real estate community worked closely with our regulatory bodies and public health officials in the spring to ensure appropriate precautions and protocols were in implemented to BC REALTORS® could help residents safely meet their housing needs. After adapting to the COVID-19 environment, local home buyer demand and seller supply returned at a steady pace throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons. Shifting housing needs and low interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020. Looking ahead the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”
 
East of Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,086 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® in December, the strongest December on record and 81.2 per cent above normal for the month. There were 19,926 total sales in 2020, which was 28.7 per cent higher than 2019 at 15,487 and the fourth highest sales since 2011. During 2020, there were 8,176 detached home sales, 5,102 townhouse sales and 4,357 apartment sales.  Year-over-year the increase in detached home sales was 41.7 per cent, for townhomes 31.2 per cent and apartments 5.9 per cent. There were 1,502 new listings in December which was the second highest on record. December finished with 3,949 active listings, down from 5,847 active listings at the end of November. “The pandemic upended everything in 2020 and how the real estate market responded to it was nothing short of remarkable. No one could have anticipated a six-month stretch like we’ve just experienced. Typical seasonal cycles did not apply, how we conduct business had to change to keep the public safe; and most unexpected, has been the unwavering demand for family-sized homes in our region and so far, there is no sign of it slowing down.” Chris Shields, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said.
 

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

 
Greater Vancouver: Greater Vancouver: Total Units Sold in December were 3,157 – up from 3,131 (1%) in November 2020, up from 2,046 (54%) in December 2019, up from 1,094 (189%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 9,096 at month end compared to 9,309 at that time last year and 11,716 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 40% compared to November 2020, up 50% compared to December 2019 and up 71% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with few areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 127% compared to 75% in November 2020, 123% in December 2019 and 75% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 5.4%.
 
Vancouver Westside: Total Units Sold in December were 486 – up from 470 (3%) in November 2020, up from 356 (37%) in December 2019, up from 190 (156%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 2,022 at month end compared to 1,687 at that time last year and 2,558 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 47% compared to November 2020, up 39% compared to December 2019 and up 63% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 4 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with some areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 115% compared to 59% in November 2020, 117% in December 2019 and 73% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 8.4%.
 
Vancouver East Side: Total Units Sold in December were 348 – down from 364 (4%) in November 2020, up from 208 (67%) in December 2019, up from 113 (208%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 922 at month end compared to 800 at that time last year and 1,232 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 44% compared to November 2020, up 66% compared to December 2019 and up 102% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is at 3 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with few areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 130% compared to 76% in November 2020, 129% in December 2019 and 85% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 10.2%.
 
North Vancouver: Total Units Sold in December were 250 – down from 264 (5%) in November 2020, up from 155 (61%) in December 2019, up from 99 (152%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 458 at month end compared to 466 at that time last year and 693 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 51% compared to November 2020, up 47% compared to December 2019 and up 107% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 153% compared to 79% in November 2020, 140% in December 2019 and 125% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 9.1%.
 
West Vancouver: Total Units Sold in December were 82 – down from 90 (9%) in November 2020, up from 46 (78%) in December 2019, up from 30 (173%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 449 at month end compared to 505 at that time last year and 558 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 41% compared to November 2020, up 12% compared to December 2019 and up 5% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 5 month’s supply (mostly balanced market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 122% compared to 80% in November 2020, 77% in December 2019 and 47% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 8.4%.
 
Richmond: Total Units Sold in December were 343 – up from 335 (2%) in November 2020, up from 281 (22%) in December 2019, up from 122 (181%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 1,376 at month end compared to 1,540 at that time last year and 1,637 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 40% compared to November 2020, up 19% compared to December 2019 and up 51% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 4 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with few areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 113% compared to 64% in November 2020, 110% in December 2019 and 61% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 4.9%.
 
Burnaby East: Total Units Sold in December were 41 – up from 37 (11%) in November 2020, up from 24 (71%) in December 2019, up from 17 (141%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 65 at month end compared to 112 at that time last year and 105 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 50% compared to November 2020, down 10% compared to December 2019 and down 5% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 216% compared to 97% in November 2020, 114% in December 2019 and 85% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 8.3%.
 
Burnaby North: Total Units Sold in December were 171 – up from 156 (10%) in November 2020, up from 113 (51%) in December 2019, up from 50 (242%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 470 at month end compared to 322 at that time last year and 594 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 33% compared to November 2020, up 136% compared to December 2019 and up 106% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 104% compared to 63% in November 2020, 161% in December 2019 and 63% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 5.4%.
 
Burnaby South: Total Units Sold in December were 148 – up from 159 (7%) in November 2020, up from 132 (12%) in December 2019, up from 51 (190%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 574 at month end compared to 464 at that time last year and 669 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 29% compared to November 2020, up 85% compared to December 2019 and up 43% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is at 4 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with few areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 103% compared to 78% in November 2020, 169% in December 2019 and 50% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 2.4%.
 
New Westminster: Total Units Sold in December were 151 – up from 137 (10%) in November 2020, up from 77 (96%) in December 2019, up from 58 (160%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 331 at month end compared to 260 at that time last year and 462 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 45% compared to November 2020, up 82% compared to December 2019 and up 102% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 162% compared to 82% in November 2020, 151% in December 2019 and 126% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 4.5%.
 
Coquitlam: Total Units Sold in December were 309 – up from 260 (19%) in November 2020, up from 197 (57%) in December 2019, up from 89 (247%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 566 at month end compared to 568 at that time last year and 782 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 43% compared to November 2020, up 80% compared to December 2019 and up 78% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 146% compared to 70% in November 2020, 167% in December 2019 and 75% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 6.5%.
 
Port Moody: Total Units Sold in December were 78 – up from 67 (16%) in November 2020, up from 37 (111%) in December 2019, up from 29 (168%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 155 at month end compared to 138 at that time last year and 226 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 40% compared to November 2020, up 82% compared to December 2019 and up 218% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 153% compared to 79% in November 2020, 132% in December 2019 and 181% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 6.0%.
 
Port Coquitlam: Total Units Sold in December were 105 – up from 102 (3%) in November 2020, up from 84 (25%) in December 2019, up from 51 (106%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 133 at month end compared to 186 at that time last year and 199 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 13% compared to November 2020, up 78% compared to December 2019 and up 158% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 102% compared to 86% in November 2020, 145% in December 2019 and 128% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 6.6%.
 
Ladner: Total Units Sold in December were 34 – up from 47 (28%) in November 2020, up from 20 (70%) in December 2019, up from 23 (48%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 66 at month end compared to 136 at that time last year and 88 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 21% compared to November 2020, the same amount as December 2019 and up 114% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is at 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with few areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 113% compared to 124% in November 2020, 67% in December 2019 and 164% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 7.5%.
 
Tsawwassen: Total Units Sold in December were 74 – up from 55 (35%) in November 2020, up from 26 (185%) in December 2019, up from 13 (469%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 176 at month end compared to 193 at that time last year and 248 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 44% compared to November 2020, up 126% compared to December 2019 and up 231% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions with few areas of balanced conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 172% compared to 71% in November 2020, 137% in December 2019 and 100% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 8.4%.
 
Pitt Meadows: Total Units Sold in December were 26 – down from 46 (43%) in November 2020, down from 27 (3%) in December 2019, up from 23 (13%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 47 at month end compared to 54 at that time last year and 64 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 47% compared to November 2020, up 53% compared to December 2019 down 51% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 130% compared to 121% in November 2020, 207% in December 2019 and 56% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 5.7%.
 
Maple Ridge: Total Units Sold in December were 214 – up from 176 (22%) in November 2020, up from 130 (65%) in December 2019, up from 73 (193%) in December 2018; Active Listings are were at 371 at month end compared to 557 at that time last year and 484 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 19% compared to November 2020, up 57% compared to December 2019 and up 132% compared to December 2018. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 month’s supply (mostly seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 129% compared to 86% in November 2020, 123% in December 2019 and 102% in December 2018. Year-over-year, the House Price Index is up 8.9%. 


Download December Sales and Listings Statistics Houses Townhouses Condos


Download December Sales and Listings Statistics All Regional

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