Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Overview
If we thought competing offers were a constant in July, after a tempered start in the first half of August, we experienced two weeks with the most amount of sales reported this year after that. Amid all the chatter of economic disruption and its potential negative effects on the housing market, real estate has taken on a life of its own and clearly wants nothing to do with slowing down.
And guess what? – it’s local! All the while buyers vying for various types of properties in different areas are walking away from competing offers still looking for their home. Demand side measures haven’t eased the burden for buyers in Metro Vancouver and supply continues to be an issue.
There were 3,122 properties sold of all types in Greater Vancouver in August this year compared with 3,202 sold in July, 2,256 sales in August last year and 1,961 sold in August 2018. It was actually the sixth highest amount of sales for the month of August on record in Greater Vancouver and the highest monthly sales for August since 2015. This is not just COVID pent up demand, it is a housing market that had been stalled in 2018 and 2019 coming to life. And coming to life with a significant surge as a result of homeowners looking to trade homes and many buyers simply wanting to engage after holding back.
Total sales in August were 21 per cent above the ten-year average for the month. Looking at the different types of properties, detached home sales were up 55 per cent year over year, townhouses up 51 per cent year over year, apartments up 19 per cent year over year. Detached homes made up 35 per cent of all sales, while townhomes made up 20 per cent and apartments 43 per cent.
While total active listings for apartments are up 16 per cent year over year, and active listings for townhouse and detached homes are down 8 per cent and 21 per cent respectively year over year, let’s not fall into the thinking that apartments are the unwanted product. The flight from apartments broadcast by some has just happened at a quicker pace, as it has always been a part of the buying cycle. While some buyers are looking for space due to working at home or wanting less shared common space, many would have made this move eventually regardless of COVID-19. Record low interest rates and over two years of down markets with price declines in the detached market have given buyers opportunities they have been itching for. After all, it’s the ultimate home owners dream, a plot of land where you live. We shouldn’t be so surprised to see this movement right now. But with more apartments available for sale comes opportunities for first time buyers and those looking for this type of property given they have been a scarce commodity over the last few years.
- Vancouver West and Burnaby were the only areas in Greater Vancouver to see the number of sales in August higher than July
- North Vancouver detached home sales which are traditionally low in August were higher than July and 61 per cent higher than August 2019 and 232 per cent higher than August 2018
- In the Pitt Meadows market, there is only one-month supply of detached homes and townhomes currently
- Bowen Island and Vancouver East detached homes have seen the biggest year-over-year increase in house prices at 11.8% and 10.1% respectively (House Price Index)
There was an increase in the number of new listings in August, which was 34 per cent higher than the ten-year average for the month of August. As a result, at the end of August there were 13,511 properties for sale, compared to 12,796 at the end of July but still less than the 14,191 available at the end of August 2019 – a 5 per cent reduction in the number of homes available year-over-year. Yes, there have been more properties listed in the last few months than we typically see at this time of year and the total number of active listings have increased, but competing offers continue – houses, townhouses and apartments. Imagine what it would be like for buyers without the number of new listings we’ve seen in the last few months. Even with more homes available for sale it is very much a seller’s market in most areas, some more extreme than others. Vancouver and surrounding cities with 4 to 5 months supply of homes available while further out there are only 3 months supply available.
So now that we’ve caught up from the summer market, it’s time for the fall market. Interest rates will fuel the real estate while they remain low, but there’s no reason to think the continued availability of listings as they continue to come to market will also fuel real estate sales. There will be further movement by homeowners looking for their “more ideal” home, changes needed as a result of additions to families and unfortunately also the break down of families. And while there have been job losses, many who have been working have decreased their discretionary spending. Vacations and dinners out could turn into more equity to invest in the next home or first home.
“People who put their home buying and selling plans on hold in the spring have been returning to the market throughout the summer. Low interest rates and limited overall supply of homes for sale are creating competition in today’s housing market,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said, “Like everything else in our lives these days, the uncertainty of COVID-19 presents makes it challenging to predict what will happen this fall.”
East of Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,039 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® in August, a decrease of 2.9 per cent compared to sales in July but a 57.2 per cent increase compared to the 1,297 sales in August of last year. Last month’s sales were 39 per cent above the ten-year average for August and the highest August sales in a decade. There were 3,309 new listings in August, a 6.8 per cent decrease compared to July and a 40.4 per cent increase compared to August of last year. July’s new listings were 28.9 per cent above the ten-year average for the month and the highest in the last ten years. July finished with 7,404 active listings, an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to July’s inventory and a decrease of 7.9 per cent year-over-year. “We are seeing better sales volumes increase month over month because buyers are recognizing that the Fraser Valley offers increased choice and diversified housing opportunities, while offering more value as well,” Chris Shields, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said. “In an unusual situation given the pandemic, we remain cautiously optimistic and are encouraged by the numbers we are seeing.”
Average Weekly Listing and Sales Statistics for Greater Vancouver During Covid-19
- First two weeks of March – 253 new listings, 138 sales
- March 23 to 27 – 172 New Listings, 131 Sales
- March 30 to April 3 – 104 new listings, 62 sales
- April 6 to April 9 – 137 new listings, 58 sales
- April 14 to 17 – 131 new listings, 63 sales
- April 20 to 24 – 117 new listings, 48 sales
- April 27 to May 1 – 126 new listings, 48 sales
- May 4 to 8 – 168 new listings, 58 sales
- May 11 to 15 – 169 new listings, 69 sales
- May 19 to 22 – 243 new listings, 93 sales
- May 25 to 29 – 196 new listings, 90 sales
- June 1 to 5 - 271 new listings, 88 sales
- June 8 to 12 – 272 new listings, 107 sales
- June 15 to 19 – 274 new listings, 120 sales
- June 22 to 26 – 241 new listings, 129 sales
- June 29 to July 3 – 311 new listings, 133 sales
- July 6 to 10 – 302 new listings, 138 sales
- July 13 to 17 – 294 new listings, 146 sales
- July 20 to 24 – 258 new listings, 151 sales
- July 27 to 31 – 245 new listings, 154 sales
- August 4 to 7 – 337 new listings, 151 sales
- August 10 to 14 – 282 new listings, 140 sales
- August 17 to 21 – 298 new listings, 171 sales *
- August 24 to 28 – 279 new listings, 164 sales *
- * the two highest weekly sales figures in 2020 including pre-pandemic
Fraser Valley MLS® HPI Benchmark Price Activity
- Single Family Detached: At $1,019,600, the Benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the Fraser Valley increased 1.2 per cent compared to July and, increased 6.9 per cent compared to August 2019.
- Townhomes: At $563,900, the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 0.1 per cent compared to July and increased 3 per cent compared to August 2019.
- Apartments: At $437,300, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley remain unchanged compared to July and increased 4 per cent compared to August 2019.
Canadian Mortgage Rates have Fallen
Another factor influencing the market are the lower mortgage rates. On September 15, 2020, ThinkMortgages.com provided the following update:
High Ratio Mortgage (less than 20% downpayment) with 25 Year Amortization:
- 5 year fixed rate: 1.84%. Which translates into $416 a month per $100K borrowed
- 5 year closed variable rate: 1.8%. Which translates into $414 a month per $100K borrowed
Conventional Mortgage (at least 20% downpayment) with 30 Year Amortization:
- 5 year fixed rate: 2.05%. Which translates into $372 a month per $100K borrowed
- 5 year closed variable rate: 1.90%. Which translates into $365 a month per $100K borrowed
What Does This Mean To You?
Depending on what you're buying or selling, there are many opportunities for both buyers and sellers in today's market.
Buyers: This is a great time for move up buyers (e.g. moving into a more expensive or larger home, or a more expensive neighbourhood). There are also opportunities for first time buyers to get into the market.
Sellers: The market is under inventoried and desirable homes are selling quickly, with competing offers and at good prices. You may be surprised by what your property is now worth. Fill out our home value form and easily find out the current value of your property.
Every neighbourhood and home is unique. So, as your real estate professionals, we're always here to help. We can fill you in on what’s happening in your local market, help you determine what type of homes you can purchase, provide the current value of your existing home and provide a clear idea of the properties currently available.
You don’t have to try to figure things out on your own! We're here to help.
Even if you’re just at the “thinking about it” stage, we recommend getting the information you need now. That way, you’ll be prepared to make the best decision when you’re ready.
So, How Are We Conducting Our Business to Keep Everyone Safe?
As real estate is deemed an essential service by the government, we're able to continue to help clients buy and sell real estate during Covid-19.
As always, the safety of our clients, community and all those involved, is our top priority.
Therefore, we’ve implemented safety precautions, viewing guidelines and are working virtually and electronically as much as possible. Masks and social distancing are the new norms.
For sellers, we continue to create floor plans, videos, 3D virtual tours and high-end marketing for our listings. This is extremely important to buyers and sellers in these times. It allows buyers to preview the property from the safety of their home and determine if a private showing is warranted. Therefore, sellers will have less people viewing their home in person, but the ones who do, are more serious about their home.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
View Detailed Market Statistical Packages
To view all the details of the current Greater Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Vancouver West and Vancouver East real estate market statistics and graphs, just click the desired buttons below to open a detailed PDF report.