December home sales surprisingly up
Real estate board says COVID-19 didn't pull bloom off real estate market
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, home sales in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley were strong in 2020, with the year ending with a record-setting December, according to a couple of real estate reports Tuesday.
A Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) report says there were 30,944 home sales in 2020, a 22.1 per cent jump from the 25,351 sales in 2019, and a 25.7 per cent increase from the 24,619 homes sold in 2018.
Last year's sales total was 2.8 per cent below the 10-year sales average, according to the report.
REBGV chair Colette Gerber says that although the housing market came to a standstill in March when the pandemic hit, housing needs intensify in a time of crisis.
Home listings were also high in comparison with past years.
The REBGV says listings on the Multiple Listing Service reached 54,305 in 2020, a 4.6 per cent increase compared with 2019, and up 1.3 per cent from 2018.
“After adapting to the COVID-19 environment, local homebuyer demand and seller supply returned at a steady pace throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons,” Gerber said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro ends the year at $1,047,400, a 5.4 per cent increase compared with
December 2019, according to the report. The cost of an apartment increased 2.6 per cent in the region last year,
while townhomes were up 4.9 per cent and detached homes increased 10.2 per cent.
For December, the report says there were 3,093 home sales, the highest total for the month on record.
Last month's sales represented a 53.4 per cent 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.
Gerber said robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what's traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate.
“This was part of an unusual seasonal pattern the market followed last year, which can be attributed in large part to the pandemic,” Gerber said in the statement.
The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,554,600 and $676,500 for an apartment, while the average price of a townhouse is $813,900.
Meantime, in the Fraser Valley, annual homes sales were up 12.4 per cent above the 10-year-average, which the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board says was because of “unrelenting, pent-up consumer demand during the
second half of 2020.”
In December, there were 2,086 sales, the strongest December on record, and 81.2 per cent above normal for the month, according to the board.
New listings in December were the second highest on record at 1,502.
By month's end, active inventory finished below typical levels, at 3,949 units.
Total sales volume for the year in the Fraser Valley was 19,926, up 28.7 per cent compared with 2019's 15,487 sales.