Greater Vancouver Real Estate Market Overview
Well contrary to what CMHC (Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation) has been saying this year, the Greater Vancouver real estate market has remained strong. In fact, the Real Estate board recently reported that there was a record number of sales in September! Plus, there were almost a record number of new listings that came on the market, but given the lack of properties that have been available, this was and is still needed to contain run away price growth.
There were 3,741 properties sold of all types in Greater Vancouver in September this year compared with 3,122 sold last month, 2,363 sales in September last year and 1,634 sold in September 2018. It was the highest amount of sales for the month of September on record in Greater Vancouver second to 3,632 in 2009. It is safe to say we are well beyond COVID-19 pent up demand; this is a housing market that is carrying itself and there are many factors to consider in looking at what the future holds for it.
Total sales in September were 55 per cent above the ten-year average for the month, compared to 21 per cent above the ten-year average in August. Looking at the different types of properties, detached home sales were up 77 per cent year over year (55 per cent in August), townhouses up 72 per cent year over year (51 per cent in August), apartments up 36 per cent year over year (19 per cent in August). Detached homes made up 36 per cent of all sales, while townhomes made up 20 per cent and apartments 44 per cent – consistent with August. Total active listings for apartments are up 20 per cent year over year, and active listings for townhouse and detached homes are down 9 per cent and 21 per cent respectively year over year.
There continues to be discussion about the apartment market in downtown Vancouver and the increase in active listings. While there has been an increase in the number of apartments for sale, we are coming off extreme lows in 2017 which lead to price increases during that time. There is still less than half the number of active listings than there were in 2010 through 2012. Working at home and the desire for space has led to some owners wanting to make a move outside the downtown core, but the number of transactions have increased since the spring. Buyers are still active and taking advantage of an increase in choice. Market cycles do happen, and a shift to detached homes is one of them, especially in light of price declines in recent years in the detached market.
There was an increase in the number of new listings in September, which was 25 per cent higher than the ten-year average for this month. As a result, at the end of September there were 13,790 properties for sale, compared to 13,511 at the end of August but still less than the 14,242 available at the end of September 2019 – a 3 per cent reduction in the number of homes available year-over-year. The rate of increase in active listings slowed in September and will likely continue to do so moving through the fall.
“We’ve seen robust home sale and listing activity across Metro Vancouver throughout the summer months,” Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said, “This increased activity can be attributed, in part, to lower interest rates and changing housing needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pace of new MLS® listings entering the market is increasing, the heightened demand from home buyers is keeping overall supply levels down. This is creating upward pressure on home prices, which have been edging up since the spring.”
East of Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 2,231 sales of all property types on its Multiple Listing Service® in September, an increase of 9.4 per cent compared to sales in August and a 66.1 per cent increase compared to September last year. This was the highest sales for the month of September in the Fraser Valley Board. There were 3,515 new listings in September, a 6.2 per cent decrease compared to August and a 26.9 per cent increase compared to September of last year. September finished with 7,377 active listings, a decrease of 0.4 per cent compared to August’s inventory and a decrease of 7.2 per cent year-over-year. “Our homes have never been more important. Across the Fraser Valley, we’re seeing a trend towards buyers looking for more space and livability in both single-family homes and townhomes,” Chris Shields, President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said. “For many existing home-owners and first-time buyers, their buying power is great than it’s been in a long time. Interest rates are very low, people have saved money over the last few months, and they’re choosing to invest it in their most important assess. Sellers are also recognizing that with lower than normal inventory, this is a smart time to list.”
Average Weekly Listing and Sales Statistics for Greater Vancouver During Covid-19
- 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 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
- August 31 to September 4 – 275 new listings, 162 sales
- September 8 to 11 – 379 new listings, 171 sales
- September 14 to 18 – 315 new listings, 184 sales
- September 21 to 25 – 295 new listings, 180 sales
Fraser Valley MLS® HPI Benchmark Price Activity
- Single Family Detached: At $1,032,700 the Benchmark price for a single‐family detached home in the Fraser Valley increased 1.3 per cent compared to August and, increased 8.7 per cent compared to September 2019.
- Townhomes: At $567,300, the Benchmark price for a townhome in the Fraser Valley increased 0.6 per cent compared to August and increased 4.0 per cent compared to September 2019.
- Apartments: At $436,900, the Benchmark price for apartments/condos in the Fraser Valley decreased by 0.1 per cent compared to August and increased 4.7 per cent compared to September 2019.
Canadian Mortgage Rates have Fallen
August 2020 had a 5.23% increase of mortgage volume compared to August 2019. The mortgage market has been on a growth trend during Q2 and Q3 and is at its highest pace since 2017.
Another factor influencing the market are the lower mortgage rates. On October 5, 2020, ThinkMortgages.com provided the following update:
High Ratio Mortgage (less than 20% downpayment) with 25 Year Amortization:
- 5 year fixed rate: 1.79%. Which translates into $414 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: 1.99%. Which translates into $369 a month per $100K borrowed
- 5 year closed variable rate: 1.85%. Which translates into $362 a month per $100K borrowed
Market Insights for the Future
While we look to the remainder of 2020 and a fall full of anxiety on where COVID-19 will take us, there is still a lot to be positive about. Yes, government debt has grown as stimulus and support is being injected into our economy but that’s what governments are supposed to do in natural disasters. When the lockdown started, savings rates were at all-time highs as the ability to spend money was for the most part locked down. But even today after economies opened up, savings rates are higher.
And with more savings and all-time low interest rates, people are looking to real estate as a vehicle to put their money into. Not as an investment vehicle but they are buying into the market or upgrading their living situation. And with interest rates likely to be low for the foreseeable future, this equation of savings and low mortgage rates are likely to continue driving the real estate market. But this isn’t just a Metro Vancouver phenomenon – U.K. mortgage approvals are at a thirteen-year high. Many other countries are experiencing the same surge in real estate activity that we are seeing.
So perhaps this is not just a temporary normal, or COVID pent up demand, but a new normal. With the economic uncertainty we are experiencing, people are not buying speculatively, they are making moves with an abundance of caution and looking long-term, looking at space and shifting their needs. And these moves in Metro Vancouver are local. But globally, as we saw in 2015 and 2016, there is a shift of putting savings and wealth into real estate. And going forward, a home will be even more important. More so than it ever was before.
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.