With an unprecedented year now behind us, Metro Vancouver’s housing market appears to have adapted to the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) shows our local housing market in line with the area’s long-term annual average. The REBGV is reporting 30,944 total home sales in 2020, a 22.1% increase from 2019. There were 54,305 home listings in Metro Vancouver in 2020, a 4.6% increase compared to 2019.
“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,” according to Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair. “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.”
December’s Housing Market at a Glance
Last month, residential home sales in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,093, a 53.4% increase from December 2019 and a 0.9% decrease from November 2020.
There were 2,409 homes newly listed on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system in Metro Vancouver in December 2020. This number represents a 51.7% increase compared to December 2019 but a 40.8% decrease compared to November 2020’s 4,068 homes listed.
There are now 8,538 homes listed on Metro Vancouver’s MLS® system, a 0.8% increase compared to December 2019 and a 23.2% decrease compared to November 2020.
“Shifting housing needs and low interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020,” said Gerber. “Looking ahead, the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”
December’s sales-to-active-listings ratio for all property types is 36.2%. By property type, the ratio is 35.2% for detached homes, 50.4% for townhomes, and 33.1% for apartment homes.
Analysts generally expect home prices to dip when the ratio falls below 12% for a sustained period. Home prices often rise when the sales-to-active-listings ratio goes above 20% over several months. As demand outpaces supply, home prices go up. As demand for properties of all sizes increases, prices continue to climb.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ended 2020 at $1,047,400. This price represents a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year.
Metro Vancouver Home Sales by Property Type
There were 1,026 sales of detached homes in December 2020, a 71.3% increase over the previous year. The current benchmark price for a detached house is $1,554,600. This price represents a 10.2% increase from December 2019 and a 1% increase compared to November 2020.
Attached home sales in December 2020 totalled 593, a 62.9% increase compared to December 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home (or townhome) is now $813,900. This price represents a 4.9% increase over last year and a 0.1% decrease compared to November 2020.
Finally, there were 1,474 condo sales in December 2020, a 40% increase compared to December 2019. An apartment home’s benchmark price remains $676,500, the same price as in November 2020 and a 2.6% increase from December 2019.
As these numbers reveal, December 2020’s sales volume marked a departure from typical seasonal sales patterns. “Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate,” finished Gerber.