Market Update: January 2021

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  1. Fraser Valley saw an increase of 81% in home sales in December
  2. Greater Vancouver had an increase of 53.4% in homes sales from last December
  3. Home sales are expected to stay strong in 2021 due to exceptionally low mortgage rates.

With 2020 behind us, and as we look towards the future and try to determine what to expect from the new year, I would like to pause for a moment and reflect on December. We saw phenomenal growth in the housing market this month, with home sales up 81% in the Fraser Valley, and 53.4% in the Greater Vancouver area compared to last December. This is extraordinary, given that home sales were expected to drop in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Looking forward we expect to see Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sales holding strong heading into 2021, propelled by exceptionally low mortgage rates and a desire for larger properties and recreational homes fuelled by the pandemic, high savings rates and stable employment for many higher-income workers.

Although a vaccine has been developed for the COVID, the virus still rages and events around the region continue to be canceled. The big thing that we usually see in Vancouver in mid-January is Dine Out Vancouver, which has been postponed this year until February 5th. Although Dine Out has been pushed backed, it is running for two weeks longer than usual to help accommodate the limited seating. I would like to encourage everyone who can safely do so, to go out and support your favourite local restaurant, they could certainly use all the help they can get.

A few other events worth mentioning this month in January is the Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival, which has close to three dozen cafes, bakeries, and chocolatiers throughout the region participating in the event by offering extra special gourmet cups of hot chocolate on their menus.

The other event that I would like to bring up is the take a stand for salmon, a virtual event being held at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, where you can learn about salmon conservation & urban wild salmon habitat at this virtual talk that highlights BC First Nations communities and our unique coastal wilderness. Watch an award-winning documentary and take part in a Q&A session with the Take a Stand team of experts.

December Market Report

Strong December activity brought Metro Vancouver’s 2020 home sales total in line with the region’s long-term annual average.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totaled 30,944 in 2020, a 22.1 percent increase from the 25,351 sales recorded in 2019, and a 25.7 percent increase from the 24,619 homes sold in 2018.

Last year’s sales total was 2.8 percent below the 10-year sales average.
Home listings on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver reached 54,305 in 2020. This is a 4.6 per cent increase compared to the 51,918 homes listed in 2019 and a 1.3 per cent increase compared to the 53,614 homes listed in 2018.
Last year’s listings total was 2.7 per cent below the region’s 10-year average.

The MLS® HPI composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ends the year at $1,047,400. This is a 5.4 per cent increase compared to December 2019. Please see below for a graph of the benchmark graph*

The benchmark price for apartments increased by 2.6 percent in the region last year. Townhomes increased 4.9 percent and detached homes increased 10.2 percent.

REBGV reports that residential home sales in the region totaled 3,093 in December 2020, a 53.4 percent increase from the 2,016 sales recorded in December 2019, and a 0.9 per cent increase from the 3,064 homes sold in November 2020.

Last month’s sales were 57.7 percent above the 10-year December sales average and are the highest total for the month on record.

There were 2,409 detached, attached, and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the MLS® in Metro Vancouver in December 2020. This represents a 51.7 percent increase compared to the 1,588 homes listed in December 2019 and a 40.8 percent decrease compared to November 2020 when 4,068 homes were listed.

The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 8,538, a 0.8 percent decrease compared to December 2019 (8,603) and a 23.2 percent decrease compared to November 2020 (11,118).

For all property types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for December 2020 is 36.2 percent. By property type, the ratio is 35.2 percent for detached homes, 50.4 percent for townhomes, and 33.1 percent for apartments.

Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 percent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 percent over several months.

Sales of detached homes in December 2020 reached 1,026, a 71.3 percent increase from the 599 detached sales recorded in December 2019. The benchmark price for detached homes is $1,554,600. This represents a 10.2 percent increase from December 2019 and a one percent increase compared to November 2020.

Sales of apartment homes reached 1,474 in December 2020, a 40 percent increase compared to the 1,053 sales in December 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is $676,500. This represents a 2.6 per cent increase from December 2019 and is unchanged from November 2020.

Attached home sales in December 2020 totaled 593, a 62.9 percent increase compared to the 364 sales in December 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $813,900. This represents a 4.9 percent increase from December 2019 and a 0.1 percent decrease compared to November 2020.

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