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Sales and Listing Report for December 2021

“Don’t wish it were easier. Wish you were better.”

Jim Rohn

Brace for an interesting year in the housing market

As the Metro Vancouver housing market comes off a record sales year, we are entering what could be the most interesting 12 months this region has ever seen.  The term ‘interesting’ can be seen in relation to the age-old curse of “may you live in interesting times,” but we believe it will also be a blessing because the blinders that have obscured some real estate realities will be ripped away in 2022.

The first expose will be that Canada does not have the supply or the political gumption to provide the housing needed for the biggest surge in immigration this country has ever seen.

The second expose will be that the federal government continues to look at ways to tax homes in Canada as evidenced by a recent CMHC study to add an annual tax on homes valued above $1M, will they slap a capital gains tax on the sale of principal residences next, despite its strenuous denials?

The final reality that every home buyer, seller and renter in Metro Vancouver will face is that the cost of housing here is never going to come down, despite the barriers to demand that every level of government has thrown up over the past 10 years.

It is up to the private market – that is you, me and everyone else who aspires to homeownership – to prepare and prosper in a future characterized by a low supply of housing, greater property taxation and accelerating land and property values.

It won’t be easy, but Metro Vancouver has never been an affordable market. Yet it has remained Canada’s leading residential environment for decades.  There is nowhere better to live in Canada and it certainly has no match when it comes to achieving real estate success.

Let’s look at immigration. According to Statistics Canada, this country absorbed 123,000 immigrants in the third quarter of 2021 alone: the highest level for any quarter since 1946, at the end of World War II. For all of 2021, Canada welcomed 403,000 new residents. To put this in perspective, the United States brought in only 300,000 immigrants for all of last year. Due to immigration, Canada now has the fastest-growing population of all G7 Nations.

If former immigration surges are any indication, up to 30% of newcomers to Canada will immediately or eventually – usually within two years – locate to B.C. and 95% of these will come to Metro Vancouver.

But the supply of housing in Metro Vancouver has fallen to record low levels and, due primarily to local governments, construction of new homes is not keeping pace with the current population, let alone meeting the needs of a hundred thousand newcomers every year.

Considering the lowest we have seen the number of Greater Vancouver active listings go in the last 30 years was 6,200, to hit below 5,000 it truly astonishing. Criticize the supply side discussions all you want but a fundamental flaw in the Metro Vancouver and many other real estate markets that we are experiencing right now is a significant lack of homes. Demand side measures clearly are not the long-term answer. At some point there needs to be real effort to increase supply and allow it to be increased in a meaningful way. And yes, the right kind of supply. We can’t keep wishing for it, there needs to be real work behind any kind of resolution to this issue.

As of December 1, 2021, only 6,000 more homes had started construction in Metro Vancouver than in the same period a year in 2020. Townhouse construction increased by just 98 units; and starts of detached houses fell by 300 homes. The only big increase was in apartments, but 30% of the 17,745 units started in 2021 were rentals, not strata homes.

This is despite a federal housing ministry pronouncement back in January 2021 that “We have a rock-steady focus on increasing the supply of housing in Canada.”

Of course, it is local municipalities that really decide how many homes will be built. And that is where the problem lies. Not to belabour the point, here is a snapshot of some recent for Metro Vancouver development non-decisions.

Vancouver: In 2016 the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan was approved, and the late and iconic Vancouver architect Bing Thom presented plans for the anchor development, his last big proposal, The plan now has been scaled back to 438 secured rental units, including 93 units at below-market rates, and 215 strata residential units, all across from the Broadway-Commercial SkyTrain hub. After three presentations and revisions over four years, the proposal has now been sent for future public hearings. “We have not received rezoning approval,” a developer spokesperson said in December 2021. “We have no idea when it will come.”

As of December 1, 2021, the City of Vancouver had seen total starts of less than 5,000 homes for the year, just 1,500 more than a year earlier, and 90% of 2021 starts were apartments. Only 135 new strata townhomes have started in Vancouver in the past two years.

North Vancouver District. The development of the Maplewood Town Centre was included in the 2006 official community plan. Five years ago, a plan was submitted by two major developers for 535 homes, including 80 below-market rentals. In December 2021, the entire proposal was voted down by District council.
A proposal to develop 420 housing units, half of them rentals at below market rates, in Lynn Canyon has been submitted three times to District council starting nearly two years ago. As of December 2021, it was referred to another round of public hearings.

As of December 1, 2021, North Vancouver District has posted just 423 housing starts, down from 611 in the same period in 2020. Only 17 townhouses were started in 2021.

West Vancouver: Council recently voted down an eight-story condo building with seven strata units. It would have been the first-ever zero emission, mass-timber housing development in the district.

Burnaby:  First presented under the official community plan in 1988, the Bainbridge Urban Village Community Plan and the Lochdale Urban Village Community Plan, meant to increase density around the Sperling SkyTrain station and Hastings Street, began consultations in 2020.The Latest update indicates that final plan to council sometime this year, subject to more public hearings.


Highlights of the December 2021 housing market report

West Side detached housing prices may have peaked for now at $3.4 million

Immigration has hit the highest level since the end of World War II

Richmond is considering “rental only” zoning

A summary of the amazing numbers:

Greater Vancouver:  Total housing sales in December were 2,737 – down from 3,492 (22%) in November 2021, down 23% from October 2021 and down 13% from December 2020, due totally to a lack of listings.

For all of 2021 sales totaled 43,999 homes, a 42.2% increase from the 30,944 sales recorded in 2020, and a 4% increase over the previous all-time sales record set in 2015. Last year’s sales total was 33.4% above the 10-year sales average.

The composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ended the year at $1,230,200. This was a 17.3% increase compared to December 2020. Both detached home and townhome benchmark prices leaped 22% last year, while condo apartment prices increased 12.8% from year earlier.
The price increases are being fueled by the housing shortage, and the shortage is because of rising prices. The benchmark price of a detached house in Vancouver, Richmond, West Vancouver and Whistler is now more than $2 million. It is over $1.8 million in North Vancouver, Port Moody and most of Burnaby, and has reached $1,756,700, up nearly 30% from a year ago in the Lower Mainland. Sticker-shocked home owners are reluctant to list their home because they don’t know where they can afford to move to. New listings in December were down 51% compared to November 2021 and 20% lower than in December 2020.

Meanwhile, buyers are eager to purchase in a market where the average detached house is increasing in value by $35,000 per month. The result is multiple offers with December’s sales-to-new-listing ratio at a startling 138%, up from 87% in November 2021 and 127% in December 2020. Basically, every new listing sold in December and the total inventory was further whittled down. In some communities, the inventory of homes for sales in now measured in days, not months.

The bottom line: buyers will continue to struggle in 2022. We will see a rush of new listings in January and into the spring, despite COVID conditions. But given the hole we are starting from; it won’t be enough. Immigration has hit record levels. A large supply of housing is absolutely vital to meet the needs of a growing population and our expanding economy.

Fraser Valley: Home sales in the Fraser Valley in 2021, with 27,692 transactions, blew past the previous annual record of 23,974 sales set in 2016 and were 39% higher than in 2020. Unlike Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley also saw a rush of new listings, with 35,629 added – the second highest on record and 12.4% more than in 2020, but demand quickly ate up the supply.

In December 2021, 1,808 homes sold second only to December 2020’s record‐setting 2,086 sales. New listings in December were 1,278. By month’s end, however, the active inventory finished at 1,957 units, the lowest in 41 years. The year ended with detached house prices up 39% from a year earlier at a benchmark of $1.5 million; townhouse prices up 32.9% to $765,800; and condo apartment prices 25.3% higher at $549,200.

Vancouver Westside: We may be seeing peak prices, at least through the next few months, for detached houses right now on the Westside of Vancouver, with December’s benchmark at $3,433,600. Detached house prices are up 8.2% from a year ago, but have been declining steadily for the past six months. The Westside was the only sub-market where detached house prices were actually lower, down 0.4%, in December than five years earlier. For those who see the Westside as a bellwether market, this could be a harbinger for detached house prices. Just 79 detached houses sold in December, down from 100 in November 2021 and 84 in December 2020, in part a reaction to a low supply. With only 82 new listings of houses added in the month, December’s sales-to-new listing ratio was 96%. More listings would have boosted sales, but one wonders if price resistance is in play. Total Westside housing sales reached 468 in December, down 28% from a month earlier and 4% below December of last year. Total listings in December were down 54% compared to November 2021 and down 6% compared to December 2020. The action is now dominated by condo apartment sales, which reached 344 transactions in December to post a sizzling 128% sales-to-listing ratio, despite benchmark condo prices rising to $842,900. The townhouse inventory is close to vanishing: there were 47 new listings in December and 45 sales; driving the median townhouse price to $1,650,000, up about $340,000 from a year earlier.

Vancouver East Side: It takes a few minutes to drive from the heart of the Westside to the centre of Vancouver’s East Side but the short journey was a $1.7 million migrations for a December house buyer. The benchmark house price on the East Side as 2021 ended was $1,770,100, almost exactly half the price of a Westside house. This is perhaps the widest price-to-proximity gap in the Lower Mainland. It helps explain why nearly 1,800 East Side houses sold in 2021, compared to 1,210 on the Westside and why the benchmark East Side detached house price increased 23.9% in the past year while it increased just 8.6% on the Westside. The East Side saw the sales-to-listing ratio for detached houses hit 125% in December, showing the price pressure will likely increase going into 2020. East Side condo apartments may offer the best deal in Greater Vancouver for those seeking some level of affordability. The median East Side condo price in December was $618,500, lower than in Burnaby, the North Shore or Coquitlam and about $200,000 less than on the Westside. East Vancouver, however, is also seeking a housing shortage, with total active listings at year-end of 690 homes, down from 921 in November.

North Vancouver: Despite all the handwringing about rising home prices, BC Assessment data shows that demand is driving prices even higher in prime neighbourhoods. For instance, assessment values for homes on the exclusive Dollarton waterfront and in Grousewoods in North Vancouver were up 30% over the past year, while they increased just 16% in more affordable Norgate and Pemberton. Across all of North Vancouver, the composite home price in December was up 14.2% from a year earlier to $1,273,100, while the typical detached house price was $1,968,000, up 15.6% year-over-year. New Listings in December were down 58% compared to November 2021 and down 26% compared to December 2020.Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month with the sales-to-listing ratio at a stunning 163%.

West Vancouver: Total housing sales in December were down 23% from a month earlier to 62 transactions, as new listings dropped 67% compared to November 2021, and 25% from December 2020. There is now about a six-month supply – 371 active listings – on the market, but the December sales to listing ratio was running at 124%. The benchmark detached house price is $3,224,500, up 13.1% from December of 2020. The big gain is in Ambleside, where the typical house price rose an average of 34% over last year, according to B.C. Assessment.

Richmond: Richmond is considering ‘rental-only zoning’ of 60 rental properties to discourage the potential development of strata homes. The targeted properties are all rentals, including 17 housing co-operatives. This could discourage development and cause values to fall for land where only rentals are permitted, if developers caution. City staff is recommending the move. This is something for property owners to keep an eye on. Meanwhile, Richmond total housing sales were up 13% year-over-year- in December to 481 transactions, while new listings dropped 9% in the same period. The sales-to-listing ratio is at 140%, which has translated into multiple offers and the composite home price increasing 17.4% from a year ago to $1,132,600.

Burnaby East: Total housing sales in December were 32 – down 3% from November 2021 and down from 22% compared to December 2020 New listings in December were down 44% compared to November 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at a 1 month’s supply, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 145% compared to 85% in November 2021 and 216% in December 2020. The composite home price is up 13%, year-over-year, to $1,127,600.

Burnaby North: The benchmark detached house price jumped to $1,802,600 in December, up 17.3% from a year earlier, reflecting intense demand in the face of lower inventory across every sector. Total new listings in December were down 45% compared to November 2021 and down 27% compared to December 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month as the sales-to-listings ratio rose to 130% compared to 84% in November 2021.

Burnaby South: The detached house market edged closer to the $2 million club in December, as benchmark prices edged up 1.9% from a month earlier to $1,868,000, the highest house price in Burnaby. Total housing sales, however, dropped 17% from November to 225 units, likely due to a severe shortage. Active listings were at 257 at month end compared to 574 at that time last year and 358 at the end of November. The total sales-to listings ratio is a blistering 138% compared to 100% in November 2021 and 103% in December 2020.

New Westminster: The benchmark detached house price in the Royal City in December was $1,393,800, up 21.5% from a year earlier, but prices are higher in some neighbourhoods, based on recent BC Assessment values. A property n Queensborough has been assessed at $3,009,000 and at least 10 other properties in New Westminster topped $2.5 million, according to assessment values released January 4. Detached house prices will likely increase, because the sales-to-listing ratio hit 183% in December, among the highest in Metro Vancouver, because only 12 new listings hit the market in the month. Total listings of all properties in December were down 53% compared to November 2021 and down 9% compared to December 2020, but the sales-to-listing ratio is 164%.

Coquitlam: Total housing sales fell 25% in December from a month earlier, to 216, but a lack of inventory drove the composite benchmark home price up 2% in the same period to $1,162,400. Detached house prices were up 25.1% from a year earlier to $1,616,200, while townhouse prices shot up 23% to $904,500. Total new listings for all properties in December were down 52% compared to November 2021 and down 27% compared to December 2020, as the sales-to-listing ratio hit 140%.

Port Moody: This market is experiencing some of the highest price increases in Greater Vancouver. The benchmark condo price in December was $767,600, up 16.9% from year earlier and the typical detached house sold for $1,948,800, 24% higher than in December of last year and by far the highest price in the Tri-Cities.
Total sales in December were down 33%, year-over-year, to 52 units, and active listings fell to just 97 homes, compared to 155 at the end of 2020. The result is a sales success ratio of 133%, meaning virtually every new listing is selling. The bottom-line numbers, there were only19 townhouses and 22 apartments available for sale.

Port Coquitlam: For now, this is the most affordable of the Tri-Cities, with a composite benchmark home price of $988,800 in December. There are no big housing developments planned for 2022, but a number of civic projects, including a downtown upgrade and a civic centre makeover are underway. More housing supply is badly needed, though, as the total inventory is down to two-weeks and the sales-to-listing ratio is a sizzling 162% with 4 townhouses and 17 apartments available. An idea of the price direction in Port Coquitlam is the December sale of a 1.2-acre rental building downtown that sold for $18.2million.
Ladner: Total housing sales in December were 21 – down 49% from November 2021, and 39% below December 2020. Active Listings were at 33 (with only 1 townhouse and 3 apartments) at month end compared to 66 at that time last year and 50 at the end of November. New listings in December were down 70% compared to November 2021 and down 60% compared to December 2020. The composite home price has surged 25% from a year ago to $1,103,000 and the typical townhouse price is up 26% to $826,100.

Tsawwassen: Detached house prices are up 28.2% from a year ago and rose 3.3% from a month earlier to reach $1,525,300, understandable as total housing sales are running at sales to listing ratio of 215%. Active Listings were at 68 at month end compared to 176 at that time last year and 97 at the end of November.

Pitt Meadows: Total Units Sold in December were 33 – up from 32 (3%) in November 2021, down from 34 (3%) in October 2021, up from 26 (27%) in December 2020, up from 27 (22%) in December 2019; Active Listings were at 29 at month end compared to 47 at that time last year and 37 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 36% compared to November 2021, up 20% compared to December 2020 and up 115% compared to December 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 117% compared to 72% in November 2021, 130% in December 2020 and 207% in December 2019. The shocking numbers: 16 detached homes, 8 townhouses and 2 apartments available.

Maple Ridge: Total Units Sold in December were 159 – down from 198 (20%) in November 2021, down from 187 (15%) in October 2021, down from 214 (26%) in December 2020, up from 130 (22%) in December 2019; Active Listings were at 143 at month end compared to 371 at that time last year and 235 at the end of November; New Listings in December were down 50% compared to November 2021, down 33% compared to December 2020 and up 4% compared to December 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is still at 1 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio of 145% compared to 90% in November 2021, 129% in December 2020 and 123% in December 2019.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for November 2021

“Courage is found in unlikely places.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

Condos alone can’t meet buyer demand

Sales of condominium apartments accounted for 53 per cent of all housing sales in Greater Vancouver in November 2021, with a 33.3% surge in transactions compared to November of 2020, but the record-setting sales pace may underline desperation in the market.

In the Fraser Valley, November sales of condo apartments were up 42.8% from November of 2020 and the benchmark price was up 21.7 per cent compared to November 2020.

We suspect more buyers are opting for a condo apartment because there is simply such little choice amidst unprecedented low inventory across all of Metro Vancouver. As well, apartments attract more investors than other sectors of the housing market, which further reduces the inventory. This is seen in pre-sales of new condo projects, in both Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

At least six new condo projects in Surrey, for example, completely pre-sold a total of 1,400 new condos since the summer. One high-rise project in central Surrey pre-sold 365 condos in a single weekend in mid-November.


Metro Vancouver saw 15 new condo projects, with a total of 2,525 units, released in October and this was followed by 1,796 pre-sale condos released in 13 projects in November. Yet Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. reports that, even with 25,000 new condos under construction across Metro Vancouver, there were less than 1,500 condo units unsold as of November 1, the lowest level in three years.

As the demand increased, the price of the most affordable housing option has risen in step. As of November, the benchmark price for a resale apartment in Greater Vancouver was $752,800, up 11.1% from November of last year and 0.9% higher than in October 2021. In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark price for a apartment is now $530,400.

The average pre-sale price for a new condo in Metro Vancouver is now $1,050 to $1,150 per square foot, based on recent pre-sales. This means that a typical one-bedroom 480-square foot new condo costs around $500,000, and this average holds steady throughout most Metro Vancouver suburbs. Investors and owner-occupiers continue to buy due to expectations that prices will be even higher in the months and years ahead, which does appear certain due to the stubbornly low inventory.

The housing supply issue in Metro Vancouver is seriously out of whack with market demand. We have seen recent municipal and provincial government attempts to increase supply, but it is too little and too late to correct the current shortage any time soon.

Across Greater Vancouver the total inventory of homes for sale is stuck at a two month’s supply while the sales-to-listing ratio is running at 83% on average and cresting at over 100% in many markets.

With December looming, a month when listings traditionally fall to the lowest level of the year, Greater Vancouver will likely see the smallest ever inventory of homes to begin a New Year. The lowest we’ve seen at the start of a year is at 6,200 active listings. We will likely have less than 6,000 at the end of December which would translate into less than 5,000 active listings in Greater Vancouver when 2022 starts, after all the expired listings come and go at the end of December.

To put this in perspective, over the last six years, the average number of active listings to finish the year has been 8,440 while in the previous 20 years it’s been 12,015 homes.

If you have considered selling any type of property, list now and prepare for offers. If you need to wait until after the seasonal holidays, list early in January.

Highlights of the November 2021 housing market:

Highest year-over-year detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver: Maple Ridge, up 34.1%
Biggest year-over-year detached house sales drop: Surrey, down 33.1%
Most expensive condo market: West Vancouver ($1.16 million)
Least expensive condo market: Surrey ($433,000)
Average sales-to-listing ratio, Greater Vancouver: 87%

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver: A total of 3,492 homes sold in November 2021, virtually unchanged (up 1%) from October but 15% higher than in November 2020. Active listings, however, crashed to 7,570 homes, down from 11,716 in November of last year. Here is a snapshot example of what is happening: New listings continue to decline as they have for months, slipping a further 2% from October to November. The month’s supply of total residential listings is still at two month’s (seller’s market conditions) and the overall sales to listings ratio is at 87% compared to 86% in October 2021 and 75% in November 2020. The composite home price in Greater Vancouver is now $1,211,200. This represents a 16% increase over November 2020 and a 1% increase compared to October 2021.

Vancouver Westside: A total of 647 homes of all types sold in the Westside in November, up 38% from November of 2020 and 9% higher than in October 2021.
New listings in November were down 11% compared to October 2021, but up 8% compared to November 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio is 75% compared to 61% in October 2021 and 59% in November 2020. The price of detached houses on the Westside is slowly declining. The benchmark price of the 100 detached houses sold in November was $3,413,800, down 1% from October and tracking down about 1% over the past six months. The benchmark townhouse price is now $1,296,900, unchanged from a month earlier and up 12.7% from November of last year. The benchmark price for a Westside condo apartment in November was $835,500, 9.6% higher than in November 2020. With more inventory on Vancouver’s Westside, it’s keeping prices more in check compared to other areas. Funny, more supply does help keep prices down.

Vancouver East Side: The City of Vancouver claims it is speeding up residential building permit approvals. As an example, the city claims that it should now take 12 weeks less time to get a permit for a new house to be built. As a comparison, Surrey, which is the second largest B.C. city, guarantees that will take no more than 12 weeks for new house building permit to be approved. In Vancouver it can still take seven years for a permit for a new condo or townhouse development to work through the city process. Meanwhile, housing demand is increasing and supply is falling. Total East Side housing sales in November reached 385, up 6% from November 2020, but active listings were down to 921 homes, compared to 1,232 in November of last year. With the overall sales to listing ratio at 76%, there is now just a two-month supply of homes on the East Side. As a result, the benchmark detached house price in November was $1,744,700, up 20% from a year ago; the typical townhouse now sells for $1,070,700, up 18.8%, year-over-year; and the benchmark condo price is now $639,600 and has been rising by 1% month-over-month this year in this seller’s market.

North Vancouver: The benchmark price of a detached house this November in North Vancouver was $1,955,300, up 17% from a year ago, but for 88 house owners in central Lonsdale, detached house prices may soon be rising faster. That’s because the City of North Vancouver ruled on November 15 to upzone the 300 block (St. Andrews and Ridgeway avenues) from East 15th to East 19th Streets for duplexes. Even higher density zoning, to include row houses, is being eyed for the area. This plan has been in the works for seven years. Under the change, the 88 lots can be converted to duplexes without going through the usual time-consuming zoning process. It is a start, at least. So far this year, no townhouses have been approved to start in North Vancouver city and there are only 27 under construction in the entire city. Meanwhile, there were only 40 new listings for townhouses in all of North Vancouver City and District in November and there were 42 sales, resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio was 105%, meaning every townhouse listing is selling. I know we keep beating the same drum, but when will municipalities realize that more housing supply is desperately needed?

West Vancouver: While overall housing sales were down in November, with the 81 transactions off 10% from both October 2021 and from November 2020, West Vancouver also posted a dubious award: provincial data shows West Vancouver homeowners will pay the fourth-highest speculation and vacancy tax in the province for 2020, at $5.9 million. The onerous speculation tax is supposed to lower both the rental vacancy rate and the price of housing. There is no evidence of either since the tax was introduced, in fact it appears to have had the exact opposite effect. The composite home price in West Vancouver was up 12% from a year ago, at $2,552,100 in November. A lack of supply may cause prices to increase: new listings in November were down 30% compared to October 2021 and the sales-to-listing ratio is at 70% compared to 54% a month earlier.

Richmond: How time and opportunity slip away. In November, nearly nine years after a plan was first discussed, the City of Richmond has booted a proposal for a large residential development in the Capstan area – 1,300 homes – for further discussion. The developer has already agreed to save more trees, add more rentals and pay $205,000 for an “owl and hawk hunting area.” Don’t hold your breath waiting for a new townhouse or condo in the that area, despite the intense demand. In November, a total of 481 homes sold in Richmond, up 43% from November of 2020, but the total active listings plunged to 997 homes, down from 1,637 at that time last year and 1,155 at the end of October 2021. With just a two-month supply on the market, the sales-to-listing ratio is a startling 94%. The current composite home price in Richmond is $1,116,200, up 16.3% from November of last year. We fully expect Richmond home prices to increase as the supply dwindles.

Ladner: Okay, I know we have heard this before, but Ladner may actually be moving towards completing a downtown makeover plan – discussed for decades and in planning for two years – that would increase density and encourage redevelopment of the waterfront. In November the city gave preliminary approval for projects of up to six storeys. A public hearing on the plan is set for December 14, starting at 6 p.m. In November, 41 homes sold in Ladner, up 8% from October, but new listings fell 20% in the same period. There is about a one-month supply of homes on the market, and the sales-to-listing ratio is at a remarkable 103%. The composite home price was $1,077,700 in November, 23.5% higher than in November 2020.

Tsawwassen: The benchmark price of a Tsawwassen detached house in November was up 26.8% from a year earlier to $1,476,700, which is also 5.5% higher than just three months ago, one of the higher price increases in Greater Vancouver. Townhouse prices have shot up 13.4% year-over-year, to $872,500, which is higher than in Burnaby or New Westminster. This underlines the price parity we noted last month that may be keeping new listing in check. At one time, a seller could cash out of home in Burnaby or Vancouver and be confident of buying for much less in areas like South Delta. Also, a first-time buyer would look to the outer suburbs for more affordable homes to get onto the real estate ladder. But today, home prices are quite similar across all of Metro Vancouver. Like many suburbs, the law of supply and demand is driving Tsawwassen prices higher. With new listings down 14% in November from a month earlier, the sales-to-listing ratio was 106% and multiple offers have become common.

Burnaby East: It was more expensive to buy a condo apartment in Burnaby East than a townhouse this November, a rarity in Greater Vancouver. I suspect it is because of a lack of townhouse sales in a market where there is only a one month’s supply of homes on the market, plus the recent resales of fairly new condos. In any case, the benchmark condo price in November was $742,400, while the townhouse benchmark was $704,400. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is 85%, creating a seller’s market in Burnaby East.

Burnaby North: The benchmark price of a North Burnaby detached house has increased about $238,000 over the past year to a November benchmark of $1,769,000. And yes, we are still seeing multiple offers on prime houses in this strong seller’s market. Total sales in November were 185 homes, up 19% from November 2020, but the total active listings were down to 322, compared to 439 at the same time last year. The sales to listing ratio is running at 84%, up from 63% in November 2020. Burnaby North is a very strong condo market, due to the ongoing Brentwood area developments, with the benchmark condo price in November at $738,300, 11.1% higher than a year ago.

Burnaby South: Total housing sales in November reached 225 transactions, up 42% from November of last year and virtually unchanged from October 2021. Active listings were at 358 at month end compared to 669 at the same time last year, and 438 at the end of October 2021. New listings in November were down 2% compared to October 2021.The sales-to-listing ratio was 100% in both November and in October, showing that supply is not close to meeting demand. Townhouses are posting the strongest price growth, increasing an average of 2% per month for the last six month to reach $772,600 in November.

New Westminster: One potential developer has been waiting six years for a small townhouse development to achieve zoning through New Westminster’s approval process. Another, a rental project which even the mayor said “checks all the boxes,” was dissuaded from proceeding in November because city staff are concerned the site “is problematic from a livability perspective.” Meanwhile, only 12 new townhouses have been completed in New Westminster this year and, of the 16 condo apartments completed, there is only one that has been “unabsorbed”, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. There are 1,522 apartments under construction in the Royal City, but most will not complete until 2023 since 1,200 of them just started this year, and many of which are rentals. What is badly needed is strata townhouses. In November there were only 17 new listings for townhouses, but the sales-to-listing ratio was 142% due to 24 sales. As a result, the median price of a townhouse has soared $120,000 from a year ago to $854,000 this November. New Westminster currently has only a one month’s supply of all types of housing and the over sales-to-listing ratio is running at 99%.

Coquitlam: With total listings down nearly 50% in November, to 383, compared to the same month a year earlier and down from 430 at the end of October 2021, even Coquitlam is facing a housing shortage. This is reflected in prices in a market where the November sales-to-listing ratio was a high 89% and touched 110% in October. The benchmark condo price is up 14.2% year-over-year to $607,000; the typical townhouse is transacting at $890,100, up 22.2% from the same time last year; and detached house price are 24% higher to $1,577,900.

Port Moody: A flashpoint for the development community is close to ignition in Port Moody, where a major developer is apparently prepared to walk away from a large multi-family development because of repeated delays and changes from the city. The overall plan, more than two years in the works, involves replacing 58 detached houses that were assembled for a new development with hundreds of condos and townhouses. Meanwhile, total active listings have fallen about 40% from a year ago to just 125 homes in November. There is an estimated two-month’s supply on the market and the overall sales-to-listing ratio has been over 84% for two months. The composite price for a Port Moody home was up 16.6% from a year ago at $1,086,700 in November.

Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales in Port Coquitlam reached 127 homes in November, up 6% from a month earlier and 25% higher than in November 2020. Active listings were at 107 at the end of November, compared to 199 at that time last year and 138 at the end of October; new listings in November were down 13% compared to October 2021. Once by far the most affordable TriCity community, Port Coquitlam’s detached house price, at a benchmark of $1,323,500 in November, is narrowing the gap with Coquitlam and Port Moody, after increasing 27.3% from a year earlier. Based on its 111% sales-to-listing ratio, there is only a one-month supply of homes on the Port Coquitlam market.

Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is still relatively affordable for home buyers, but only in relation to the rest of Metro Vancouver. Just three years ago the benchmark detached house price in Pitt Meadows was $702,000. This November it was $1,310,200. This may help explain why total sales in November were down 30% from the same month a year ago and 6% lower than in October 2021. New listings increased 13% in November from a month earlier, but total active listings, at just 37, are 40% lower than a year ago. The sales-to-listing ratio calmed to 72% compared to 106% in October 2021, but this remains a seller’s market.

Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge holds the distinction of posting the highest detached house price increase in Greater Vancouver, with the November benchmark price up 34.1% from a year earlier to $1,204,000.The entire Maple Ridge market is quite active, with November sales of 198 homes up 6% from a month earlier and 12% above the pace in November 2020. While total active listing are 55% lower than a year ago, new listings in November were up an encouraging 27% compared to October 2021. Yet, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 90% in November and 109% in October, prices may be forced higher.

Surrey: Speaking of price parity, the benchmark price of a detached house in Surrey in November was $1,557,900 after increasing 34.7% from a year earlier. But, and we have to blame the spike in prices, sales of detached houses plunged 33.1% in the same period and have remained static at around 320 sales for the last three months. Townhouses have seen the same trajectory, with year-over-year prices up 30.3% and sales falling by 20%. Lovely as Surrey is, when property prices begin to challenge suburban markets closer to Vancouver, it appears buyer resistance sets in. The outlier is Surrey condos, which are priced at a benchmark of $433,000 – far lower than in Greater Vancouver where the condo price is now $752,000. Surrey condo sales soared 52.5% in November, to 305 transactions, compared to November 2020. I would suggest that many first-time buyers and investors are being drawn to Surrey’s condo market.


Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for October 2021

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Suburban safety valves close as prices rise in step

The shocking shortage of homes for sale across Metro Vancouver has had the unsettling effects of levelling residential prices and stunting supply from Burrard Inlet to well south of the Fraser River. The suburban safety valves for those seeking more affordable homes have nearly vanished.

The price gap between the average home price in Greater Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley was once a canyon: today it is a creek.

In October 2019, just three years ago, the composite home price difference between Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley was $272,500. This October that had narrowed to less than $150,000. In the detached housing market, it now costs nearly the same to buy a house in North Burnaby ($1.74 million) or East Vancouver ($1.71 million) as in South Surrey-White Rock, where the October benchmark was $1.76 million. A house in Langley ($1.45 million) is higher than in New Westminster or Port Coquitlam and within $50,000 of a detached house in East Burnaby.

The composite benchmark price in Chilliwack in October, at $800,000, was higher than in New Westminster ($749,200); and within $200,000 of most of the Tri-Cities market.

This price-gap shrinkage is the result of and a key reason for the current lack of new listings on the Metro Vancouver market. In the misty past – like 36 months ago – Greater Vancouver homebuyers could count on selling and downsizing to a smaller, pleasant Fraser Valley community and pocketing a healthy premium. First-time buyers would start their real estate ascension buying in the eastern Valley and, if desired, leverage up to a place in Greater Vancouver.

Now, though, many homeowners are reluctant to list because their exit strategy has been blocked. It is difficult to downsize or upgrade to a place 30 or 60 kilometres away when the home prices are nearly identical or you are you don’t feel you will be able to find a home to purchase.
The effect has been devastating.

In October, Greater Vancouver saw 3,455 homes sell but only 4,120 new listings were added to the market. With an 86% sale- to-listings ratio in the month, nearly every listing that came on the market sold – and in some areas like Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Moody and Tsawwassen, there were more sales in the month than there were new listings.

In the Fraser Valley in October there were 1,938 total sales and a mere 2,188 new listings. That is a sales-to-listing ratio of 88.5%.

Will there be any properties for sale on the Metro Vancouver market by the end of 2021? At the rate of decline in the number of active listings, it would seem we could very well run out. For years, there’s been a concentrated, coordinated push by all three levels of government to hold back housing demand. But now we’re left with a complete lack of supply, the lowest levels ever recorded at this time of year.

Maybe one day we’ll stop saying how low the number of active listings is and that each month won’t be setting a record for how low they are. Likely not in the near term though. At the end of October there were 8,492 active listings available for sale in Greater Vancouver, which was less than the 9,728 active listings at the end of September. Sales for the month, however, were up 11% from September and 22.4% above the 10-year October average.

In the Fraser Valley, there were just 3,447 active listings in October, down a stunning 49.8% from October 2020 and nearly 10% lower than in September 2021. But total sales were the third-highest for October on record, 18.2% higher than in October of last year and nearly 5% higher than in September 2021.

As we have seen for some months, year-over-year condominium apartment sales in October tracked above last year while detached and townhouse markets are showing less sales than in the same month a year ago.

Compared to October 2020, the number of apartment sales in October this year were up 14%, while townhouses were down 22% and detached home transactions down 18%. On the supply side, the number of new listings for detached homes in October was down 29% year over year with active listings down 24%, townhouse new listings were down 22% with active listings down 47% and apartment new listings down 25% and active listings down 38%. And, unlike other years, we can’t expect a surge of new housing starts to provide the necessary inventory. Across all of Metro Vancouver, total starts as of September were down 37% from August to just 14,109 units ­– and 24% of these were rental units.

Highlights of the Metro Vancouver market October 2021

  • Communities with less than one-month inventory of homes: Coquitlam, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows and Ladner
  • Markets with sales-to-new-listing ratios higher than 100%: Coquitlam, New Westminster, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Moody, Sunshine Coast.
  • Biggest month-over-month detached house price increase: Pitt Meadows (up 4.6% from September.)
  • Biggest month-over-month detached house price decline: Vancouver West Side (down 1.3% from September).
  • Condominium sales as a per centage of the total market: 50%

Here’s a summary of the numbers:

Greater Vancouver: There were a total of 3,545 residential transactions in October, up 11% from September 2021, but down 6% from October 2020. Active listings were at 8,492 at month end compared to 13,066 at that time last year and 9,728 at the end of September. New listings in October were down 22% compared to September 2021 and 28% lower when compared to October 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is down to 2 months, signalling a strong seller’s market with a sales-to-listing ratio of 86%, compared to 60% a month earlier. The composite home price in October was $1,199,400, up 1.1% from a month earlier and 14.7% higher than in October 2020.

Fraser Valley: There were a total of 1,983 home sales in October, up 3.9% from a month earlier, but down 18.2% from October 2020. After rebounding slightly in September, new listings decreased in October. Only 2,188 new listings were added, a decrease of 29% compared to last year, and a decrease of 6.6% compared to September 2021. The month ended with a total active inventory of 3,447, which is a 9.6% decrease compared to September, and down 49.8% compared to October 2020. The average composite home price is now $1,053,635, up 2.8% from September 2021 and 24.6% higher than in October of last year.

Vancouver Westside: The October benchmark price of a Westside detached house was $3,450,000 and the composite home price was $1,365,300, which is double the Canada-wide composite average. Yet Westside detached house sales were up 31%, at 108 transactions, from September 2021 and total sales, at 595, were 7% higher, month over month. A lack of supply – new listings in October were down 21% from September – has had a counterintuitive effect on prices. The benchmark detached house price was down 1.3% from a month earlier and remained slightly lower (down 0.5%) from three months ago. Townhouse benchmark prices, at $1,300,300, have increased just 0.7% from August and the benchmark condo apartment price, at $823,300, is virtually unchanged from six months ago. The sales-to-new listing ratio for houses was 68%; it was 55% from townhouses and 61% for condo apartments, all up marginally from the monthly averages this year.

Vancouver East Side: More detached houses sold, 137, on the East Side of Vancouver in October than in any other sub-market in all of Greater Vancouver, including the West Side. The key reasons are price and potential. At a benchmark price of $1,717,400, East Side houses are less expensive than across Greater Vancouver and remain about half the price of homes west of Quebec Street. As for potential, the City of Vancouver has new plan to scrapping the rezoning and public hearings for six-storey rental projects along arterial streets from Hastings-Sunrise to Dunbar, with most of the action expected on the East Side. This could encourage developers. The East Side will also soon have the new Broadway Corridor transit hubs; the $2 billion new St. Paul’s Hospital is underway and Mount Pleasant East is undergoing a high-tech job explosion, as is the emerging False Creek Flats. East Vancouver’s sales-to-listing ratio is running at 87% for both houses and townhouses, due to severe shortage of new listings, while 76% of new listings for condos sold in October. Its median condo price, with 178 sales in October, was $662,000.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver’s need for more housing supply is underlined by the sudden spike in school enrollment this year, with 440 more local students when schools opened in September compared to a year earlier. International student enrollment shot up to 531, though projections were for less than 380. This is enough students to fill two elementary schools. All these children and their parents need places to live but total new listings for detached houses in October were down about 40% from September to just 94 houses, and the sales-to-listing ratio was 100%. There was a slight uptick in townhouse listings, at 54, while new listings for condo apartments fell to 142 units, down from 224 a month earlier. The sales-to-listing ratio for condos hit 96%, the highest monthly level so far this year. The total supply of North Vancouver homes is down to 2 months, while the composite home price in October was up 0.5% from September, at $1,245,600. The benchmark detached house price led the increase, with a 1.4% month-to-month rise to $1,939,500.

West Vancouver: Attempts to build more multi-family strata supply in West Vancouver is mixed. A 68-unit condo project was recently approved at Taylor Wave and Marine Drive but a similar development on Bellevue Avenue was refused in mid-October. Only 24 strata homes have started this year. Meanwhile, the total supply of homes for sale is down to a 6-month inventory, as total new listings in October dropped 23% from a month earlier. West Vancouver posted 60 detached sales in October, up from 41 in September while the benchmark detached price increased 1.9% to $$3,201,200 and the sales success ratio hit 48%. Only 14 townhouses and 22 condo apartments were added to the market in October, created a sales-to-new-listing ratio of 64% and 86%, respectively for the sectors.

Richmond: Provincial legislation introduced in late October is meant to speed up residential developments at the municipal level, and Richmond could use such help to get more homes started. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 86% in October, Richmond has just 2 months of total housing inventory. October saw total sales increase 11% from September to 479 transactions. This was led by 243 sales of condo apartments, at a benchmark price of $731,100, a price up 0.9% from a month earlier. The benchmark detached house price in Richmond, at $1,950,600 in October, was unchanged from September. Sales of townhouses were up about 10% from September, to 117 transactions, while the benchmark townhouse price held steady at $961,200.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East is the most affordable of the Burnaby markets, with the October composite price at $1,099,000 and detached houses selling for $1,501,700, nearly unchanged from a month earlier. Total housing sales reached 44 in October, up 16% from September, but new listings were down 33% month-over-month and 47% below October 2020. The supply of total residential listings is down to 1 month with a sales to listings ratio of 133% in October compared to 78% in September 2021.

Burnaby North: Burnaby North could be the multiple-offer centre of Greater Vancouver as a 51% drop in new listings collided with a 16% increase in sales, month-over-month, in October. The result was predictable as eager buyers competed for scant opportunities. Strata prices are steadily rising and the composite home price, at $1,122,900, is now 11.7% higher than in October 2020. There is an acute shortage of townhouses, seen in the average 1.1% price increase month-over-month this year, to an October benchmark of $841,500. Not a single new townhouse has started construction this year in North Burnaby and just 16 new townhouses under construction. Condo apartments dominate the market, selling for a benchmark of $733,200, up 4.4% from six months ago. More supply is coming, with 2,274 new condos under construction as of October 1. Detached house prices have levelled off at $1,743,700, up just 2% from six months earlier. The overall sales-to-listing ratio hit 102% in October in this strong seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Total October housing sales were up 25% from September to 228 transactions, while new listings were down 20% in the same period, a common story across the entire region. With a total inventory at a 2-month supply, the sales-to-listing ratio in October hit 100%, which is as tight as you can get. The composite home price in October was up 9.2% from a year earlier at $1,057,200.

New Westminster: The Royal City posted a 95% sales-to-listing ratio in October, compared to just 56% a month earlier, as sales increased 27% and new listings dropped 26% in the same period. The supply of total residential listings is down to 2 months. Prices continue to rise across the board, with detached houses up 1.3% from September at $1,364,600; townhouse prices up nearly 2% month-over-month to $$864,300; and the typical condo apartment selling for $568,000, 7.6% higher than a year ago and up 0.2% from September 2021.

Coquitlam: The City of Coquitlam has put a 4.4-acre townhouse site on the market, with RFO bids being accepted until November 10. Let’s hope some developer bites, because there were only 29 townhouses added to the MLS service in October while there were 34 townhouse sales, resulting in a 134% sales-to-listing ratio. The benchmark townhouse price is now $878,100, up 20.9% from the same month last year and they have been rising about 2% month-over-month since then. The housing shortage is being seen right across Coquitlam, with just 434 total active listings, down about 50% in October compared to October 2020. The resulting sales-to-listing ratio is 111%, which is unsustainable unless a fresh supply is added.

Port Moody: The City of Port Moody, which has earned a recent reputation as anti-development since 2018, appears to have seen the light, because it is running out of housing inventory which is driving prices higher. At $1,878,400 in October, detached house prices are nearly 24% higher than a year ago and among the highest of all suburban markets in Greater Vancouver. Strata prices are also rising, ascending an average of 14% over the past 12 months. The city is now hoping to increase strata supply and, as one city councillor put it “stop beating builders with a stick.” So far in 2021 only 28 townhouses have started construction in Port Moody, along with 378 condo apartments.

Port Coquitlam: This enclave of relative stability and affordability has been discovered, resulting in a 24% spike in sales in October, to 120 transactions, compared to a month earlier. The benchmark detached house is $1,289,000, the lowest price in the Tri-Cities market. The median condo apartment price, however, increased $40,000 from September to October when it reached $543,900. Total new listings in October were down 10% compared to September 2021, and 26% lower than in October 2020, which will increase price pressure. Port Coquitlam has a total inventory of just one month supply of homes, and the sales ratio is running at 92%, so buyers looking at this market should act quickly.

Pitt Meadows: After a year of quite strong sales, Pitt Meadows is running out of homes for sale, literally, which stalled total October sales at just 34 transactions, down 17% from September. There are just 34 active listings on the market, which means that virtually everything is selling. Detached house prices remain among the lowest in Greater Vancouver, but benchmark values are rising steadily and reached $1,268,000 this October, notching a 4.6% increase from September, the biggest month-over-month increase in Greater Vancouver. There is only a 1-month supply of listings and this could soon be lower as the sales-to-listing ratio is now running at 109%.

Maple Ridge: Total sales in October, at 182, were up 3% from September 2021 but down a stunning 36% from October 2020. The reason? Your guessed it: a supply shortage. New listings in October were down 26% compared to September 202, and 41% lower than in October 2020. We estimate, that with the current sales-to-listing ratio at 110%, the total inventory of listings could vanish in a month if the market remains unchanged. The detached house price jumped 2.3% from September to $1,176,600 and condo apartment values increased the same, to $451,000, up nearly 25% from October 2020.

Ladner: Hundreds of Delta detached-house owners remain under the old land use contracts, but council is taking steps to end the contracts, which restrict what can be done with a property. Mostly created in the 1970s, land use contracts were signed at the time of a property’s original subdivision and outline various development guidelines. All of the contracts are to expire in 2024, but if the Ladner house you are planning to buy is still under the old rules, it is possible to receive permission for such things as adding a secondary suite. Ladner saw a total of 38 home sales in October, unchanged from a month earlier, but the total new listings increased 11% from September, which is rare in the region. The composite home price was up 2.6% from September to $1,074,100 in October, while the detached house price was 2% higher, at $1,134,200.

Tsawwassen: With a sales-to-listing ratio of 112% in October, the housing supply is being threatened. In October, 64 homes sold, up 12% from September, but new listings were down 22% month over month. The typical detached house sold in October for $1,460,700, up 3.6% (yes, that is about $44,000) from September. There is 2-month supply of homes in this seller’s market.

Surrey: Remember when Surrey houses were super affordable compared to most markets north of the Fraser River? Those were the days. In October, with 363 detached-house sales, the Surrey benchmark house price was $1,507,400, which is close to values in Burnaby and Coquitlam. Surrey house prices are now 32% higher than in October 2020. Townhouse benchmark prices, at $746,400, are up 26% for the year and 2.6% higher than in September. Benchmark apartment prices are now $462,200 in Surrey, but are rising an average of 1.6% per month. But note that, as in Greater Vancouver, active listings are down sharply from a year ago.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for September 2021

“Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”

Napoleon Hill

Election over but the effects will linger in Metro Vancouver

The federal election is over and those who think nothing has changed should prepare themselves for some of the most intrusive legislation ever into the private-sector housing market. It has never been more apparent that this much housing policy is a reaction to headlines and social media. Common sense is trumped by the need to appear to be doing something, anything, to get elected.

For instance, foreign home buyers – already subject in B.C. the highest taxes in the world – are now virtually a non-entity in the Metro Vancouver real estate market, in both the commercial and residential sectors. Yet, at the same time that the federal government wants to increase immigration to 400,000 persons per year, it plans to ban foreign purchases of Canadian homes for two years. This means that someone planning to move to Canada cannot buy and prepare a home for their family’s arrival until they achieve citizenship without paying perhaps a hefty tax. A family will also be penalized if they purchase an apartment for their foreign student in Vancouver. Please come but don’t touch.

Then there is the plan to reduce the cost of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. insurance by 25 per cent while increasing the ceiling on eligible mortgages to $1.25 million, from $1 million.

Hello? This is clearly an inflationary measure, convincing more entry level buyers to purchase while doing nothing to increase affordability.
There is also the planned anti-flipping tax, which is politically palatable but a disincentive to increasing the much-needed supply of affordable strata homes or rentals. This is because land assembly of existing houses or strata windups is often the first step in multi-family development. These properties are, ideally, assembled and then sold within a year to speed the development process. Another layer of tax on homes bought and sold within 12 months will discourage development while adding higher costs to the resulting new strata or rental units.

Port Moody is among the markets that could be hurt. A large new residential development approved for the city’s Coronation Park area – updated in September to now include 2,650 strata units and a rent-to-own program– spurred single-family land assemblies in the area for higher-density homes, such as badly-needed townhouses. In September, only 19 townhouses were added to Port Moody listings, and 14 of them sold. A mere 28 new townhouse units have started construction in Port Moody for all of this year.

Port Moody has a dramatic shortage, but there is a pressing need for middle-market housing right across Greater Vancouver. In September the total active listings for townhouses was less than 1,100 units, down nearly 50 per cent from the same period a year ago. In fact, the total number of residential listings in Greater Vancouver hasn’t been this low in September going back to 1993 and beyond.

So what to do? As always, keep calm and carry on. Responsible people want and need to buy a home for their family’s comfort and financial security and will continue to do so, regardless of the barriers to their destination.

MARKET HIGHLIGHTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2021

  • Province eases regulations on ALR land

  • Land assemblies increase in East Vancouver, suburbs

  • Active listings plunge nearly 50% in the Fraser Valley

  • West Side, West Vancouver tilting towards a buyer’s advantage

Greater Vancouver market summary: Total residential sales in Greater Vancouver in September were 3,200, down from 3,714 in September of 2020, but slightly higher than the 3,178 sold in August 2021. While not a spectacular month for sales, likely a reflection of the lower selection, September sales were 20% above the 10-year average for this month while the number of new listings was 1% below the 10-year average.

Year over year, condo apartment sales are tracking above September 2020, while detached and townhouse sales are slowing. Compared to September 2020, the number of condo apartment sales this year were up 1%, while townhouse transactions were down 20% and detached homes 27% lower.

It is no coincidence that the sector with the highest supply – condo apartments – is also seeing the highest sales increase. The slowdown in the townhouse and detached-housing markets in September can be traced to a lack of inventory in both sectors.

Overall average residential prices are lower now than at peak prices in April across Greater Vancouver, but there are variations among markets. The average home price in September was $1,174,305, compared to $1,211,233 in April of this year, when sales had hit more than 5,000 transactions for the second straight month.

Fraser Valley market summary: Sales in the Fraser Valley were down 10.6% in September from August, but the total of 1,866 transactions was still the second-highest September in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s 100-year history. September, however, ended with a total active inventory of 3,812 homes, down 48.3% compared to September 2020, which drove prices higher across the board. Average prices for single-family detached houses were up 31% from a year earlier and 1.8% higher than in August, to $1,491,989. Townhouse average prices were $773,728, up nearly 5% from August and 27.6% above September 2020. The Valley-wide condo price was $493,188, up 15.6% from September 2020 but virtually unchanged (up 0.7%) from August of 2021.

Vancouver Westside: Despite a 4% dip in total sales from August, September’s 567 total transactions were up 6% from a year earlier and the West Side saw a welcome influx of new listings. Total new listings were up 36% from a month earlier and active listings reached 2,554 properties, the vast majority of them condo apartments. The headline news for the trend-setting Westside, however, is that the total supply is now at 5 months, which is tilting it from a seller’s market to a balanced, even hinting at a buyer’s market for the first time in years.

The detached housing market, however, received only 220 new listings in September – up by just 40 from a month earlier – and the average house price settled at $3,573,268, down about $90,000 from both August of this year and September 2021. The sales to listing ratio was 37%, the lowest level since May and the lowest September ratio since 2019. If the active listings and sales of detached houses continue at the same pace, there is a 9-month supply on the market, which signals a buyer’s market. For those aspiring to a detached house on the Westside, this may be the time to take action.

Townhouse prices, at an average of $1,662,908, however, were $270,000 higher than in September 2020 and up $73,000 from August of this year. There were 66 townhouse sales in September from total new listings of 116, creating a sales-to-listing ratio of 57%, compared to 86% a month earlier. The lack of inventory is keeping prices high, resulting in some frustrated buyers retreating from the market.

Westside condominium apartment sales present a different story. With 892 new listings added in September and a total of 1,579 condos now on the market, the average price dipped slightly from August, down about $5,000 to $957,893 for the 416 sales in September. Condo sales were down slightly from August, and September’s sales-to-listing ratio of 47% was well off the monthly pace this year and indicative of the cooling market we are seeing this autumn across most of Greater Vancouver. Perhaps that’s why CMHC’s risk report put Vancouver at low compared to high in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax and Moncton.

Vancouver East. Regular readers will know my belief that Vancouver East is the current and housing market of the future in Greater Vancouver. September emphasized that confidence. Sales in the month surged 25% from August and new listings were up 47%. The result was a great selection and a sales-to-listing ratio of 58%. There is a 3-month supply of inventory in East Vancouver as this strong seller’s market continues.

Vancouver East detached houses, I believe, present good value. The average detached house price in September was $1,846,657. This is lower than the North Shore, Richmond and most of Burnaby, and a startling $1.6 million less than in neighbouring West Side. But none of these markets have the new St. Paul’s hospital underway, the rapidly-growing tech sector or the coming SkyTrain twin-subway extension seen in East Vancouver. Take a drive through Mount Pleasant or visit the 450-acre False Creek Flats north of Great Northern Way to see where Vancouver’s future is heading. East Vancouver detached house owners should be aware that land assemblies will become a major factor in this market over the next few years, if not months.

East Vancouver had 187 townhouses for sale in September, the highest inventory seen in most Greater Vancouver markets. September townhouse sales, at 75, were up 92% from August and the average sale price of $1,258,332 was the highest level this year, and $120,000 above September 2020. The sales-to-new-listing ratio held steady at 53%, close to the average since May of this year.

Condo apartment sales in East Vancouver, at 115 in September, were up from 97 in August but lower than the monthly average this year. With 224 new listings, the sales ratio was 51%, the lowest since January. Despite this, the average condo price reached $808,000, up $34,000 from August and $100,000 higher than a year earlier.

North Vancouver: Total housing sales were up 9% in September from a month earlier, to 230 homes, which was 30% higher than in September 2020. Active listings were up from August, with a 70% surge in new listings to a total of 507 homes for sale at the end of September. With a mere 2-month supply, North Vancouver is very much a seller’s market.

Detached houses sales, at 70, were the highest in three months and the average detached house price in September was $2,227,213,the highest level this year and up a startling $435,000 from September 2020. The sales ratio for detached houses was 53% with 144 new listings added to the market in the month.

City-centre detached owners should watch for land assembly action that has started near the massive civic redevelopment planned for the Harry Jerome community centre in Central Lonsdale. The new complex won’t complete until 2025. The city does not allow higher-density zoning in the area today, but some developers are assembling lots in anticipation of future potential such as townhouse zoning.

North Vancouver townhouse listings added just 46 units to the market in September and new listings have not reached 50 townhouses a month since May. Sales in September, at 35, resulted in a 76% sales ratio. The average North Vancouver townhouse sold for $1,332,543, up $195,000 from September 2020, reflecting the high demand and low inventory.

Condominium apartment sales dominated the September market, with 115 sales, but the sales-to-new-listing ratio dropped to 51%, the lowest level this year. The average condo price is now $808,207, up more than $100,000 from a year ago.

West Vancouver: One of the most prestigious markets in Canada is moving towards a buyer’s market with an 8-month supply of homes on the market, but buyers still pay premium prices. The average sale price of the 41 detached houses sold in September was $3,536,476. This price is up 13% from a year ago, but below the monthly average this year. With a total of 440 detached houses for sale, there is healthy selection and buyers can take advantage. There were only 11 new listings for townhouses in September and 10 of them sold at a benchmark price of $1,292,000. There were 20 condo apartment sales, unchanged from August, at a benchmark of $1,162,000, up 5.5% from a month earlier.

Richmond: Richmond housing sales and listings were down in September, rather dramatically, with sales dropping 32% compared to a year earlier and total active listings down nearly 50% year-over-year to just 320 properties, yet strata prices are soaring. September townhouse prices broke the $1 million average-price barrier for the first time in Richmond as 90% of the 107 new listings sold. Richmond has only a 2-month supply of townhouses in a white-hot seller’s market.

Condo sales led Richmond’s September action, with 230 transactions and 584 active listings, with average condo prices up nearly $100,00 from a month earlier at $641,218.

Detached houses posted 106 sales from 184 new listings in September, and the average price was down slightly from August, at $1,935,761.
There is a buzz in Richmond due the easing of rules regarding the Agriculture Land Reserve (ALR). The province recently ruled that smaller farms (100 acres or less) can add a secondary residence, if approved by the local municipality. Richmond has many small ALR parcels, many less than an acre, and the ruling may increase their attraction to buyers. The changes, which come in December 31, 2021, represent a slight opening in restrictions that have limited residential use on about 150,000 acres of ALR land in Metro Vancouver for 45 years.

Ladner: Forget for a moment that a gigantic 8-lane replacement for the Massey Tunnel is coming to its doorstep or that the City of Ladner launched a program in September that is unapologetic about aiming to attract higher-density residential development. Instead, think of living in an historic riverside community with startling real estate potential. A lot of people have: 84% of the new listings in Ladner sold in September – a sales ratio that has held steady for months – and total sales were up 9% from August, to 38 transactions. Detached houses sold in September at a benchmark in the $1.3 million range, but Ladner has been posting among the highest month-over-month price increases over the past six months. Something is stirring in sunny Ladner.

Tsawwassen: Ladner’s neighbouring Tsawwassen saw total sales dip 23% in September from a month earlier and its sales-to-new-listing ratio is also more subdued 78%, down from 112% in August. Active listings have plunged, with 133 this September compared to 308 at the same time last year. Detached-house prices are benchmarked at $1,409,800, 7% from six months ago but unchanged (up 0.3%) from August 2021. Tsawwassen townhouses are in high demand, even at the current benchmark price of $856,000.

Burnaby East: Total housing sales reached 38 units, not much changed from a month or a year earlier. Total active listings also held steady, though low, at 83 per month for two months straight. Townhouses supplied the drama in September as the sales-to-new-listing ratio hit 131% due to a mere 13 new listings compared to 17 sales. The average townhouse price shot up to record high of $1,006,000 as a result. The overall sales-to-new-listing ratio for all homes is 78%, as the housing shortage becomes apparent in this seller’s market.

Burnaby North: This market has seen a lot of new housing starts over the past three years, but most have been condos, not townhouses, which remain in high demand. In September, 31of the 36 new listings for townhouses sold and a lack of inventory is all that is keeping sales in check. Multiple offers are still common here, as the average townhouse price jumped $50,000 in a single month to $956,712 in September. The detached-housing action was more subdued with a 62% sales-to-new-listing ratio, and the 32 detached sales seeing an average price of $1,782,633, the lowest monthly level since January 2021. The condo apartment market posted 125 sales, highest in four months, at an average price of $681,673, with a sales-success ratio of 66%.

Burnaby South: Home prices in Burnaby South have barely budged in three months and sales, while historically high, where down 8% in September from August. The composite benchmark home prices is just over $1 million as it has been since the early summer. The overall housing inventory is steady at a 3-month’s supply and the sales-to-listing ratio is also solid at 64 per cent in September. This is a seller’s market, and a stable one.

New Westminster: The Royal City was one of the hottest markets earlier this year, but the pace slowed in September, with overall housing sales down 10% in as compared to August and new listings up 42% in the same period, resulting in a 52% sales-to-listing ratio, which is about as balanced as it gets. In August, the same ratio was 80%. An opportunity could be opening in the New Westminster detached housing market, with the sales ratio down to 35% in September, the lowest since mid-2020, and the average price tracking down to $1,333,614. There is a six-month supply of detached houses on the market – 81 houses – which is trending towards a buyer’s advantage.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam saw total sales dip 13% in September, to 247, compared to a month earlier and were 19% lower than in the same month last year, while the supply of homes is increasing. There are 577 total active listings, up from 551 in August, though they are down about 40% from a year ago. The condo sector posted a 76% sales-to-new-listing ratio to lead the market, with 133 sales at an average price of $634,777, the highest level of any month this year. Townhouse sales dipped to 37 units, down from a three-month average of 48, but 74% of the new listings sold at an average price of $955,854. September saw 74 detached-house sales, the lowest level this year, and average price, at $1,599,752, has been fairly constant since the start of the year.

Port Moody: Port Moody has been flirting with a housing boom for three years, with plenty of plans for new development but a lack of actual construction. That could change over the next few months and the supply would be welcomed. There were only 158 active listings in September and that included only 14 new listings for townhomes and just 50 condo apartments available for sale. The sale-to-listing ratio is in the 75% range for both strata sectors. The planned new developments, including the 2,500 homes planned for the Coronation Park area, has increased interest in single-family lot assemblies. The average detached-house price in September was $1,736,346 and 80% of the 30 new listings sold.

Port Coquitlam: Good, stable Port Coquitlam saw a total of 97 home transactions in September, unchanged from August 2021 and up 15% from the same month a year ago. New listings increased 25% from a month earlier and the sales-to-listing ratio was a steady 64%, meaning a seller’s market. More detached house listings are needed, because all 34 new listings in September sold. Unlike many markets, more detached houses sell in Port Coquitlam each month than townhouses or condos. Note to first-time buyers, though: the average price for a Port Coquitlam condo is now $495,000, among the lowest in Greater Vancouver.

Pitt Meadows: Pitt Meadows is a small housing market and it is among the tightest for supply in Metro Vancouver. The total inventory of homes for sale is down to a 1-month supply as sales leaped 71% in September from a month earlier. There are only 47 active listings, compared to 100 at this time last year. Detached house prices are 6% higher than six months ago, at an average of $1,212,000, and average townhouse prices have risen 12.2% in the same period to $759,000. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is a stunning 93%. If you want to buy in Pitt Meadows, better hurry before all the listings have disappeared.

Maple Ridge: Maple Ridge has been attracting many buyers from Vancouver and the inner suburbs this year due to its lower prices and increasingly sophisticated new strata housing. In September, buyers were purchasing detached houses for a benchmark of $1.2 million and condo apartments for $441,000, the lowest prices in any Metro market north of the Fraser River, save for neighbouring Pitt Meadows. There is only a 2-month supply of total residential listings and sales to listings ratio in September was 84%, an indication that Maple Ridge could see a continual elevation in home prices.

Surrey: Anyone fortunate enough to take a tour from South Surrey’s Crescent Beach to Central Surrey’s high-rise downtown would have to admit this city on pace to surpass Vancouver as the biggest metropolis in B.C. About 1,000 new business open every year in Surrey and 1,000 people move in every month. In September, 308 detached houses sold in Surrey at an average price of $1,606,000, a price up 28.6% from a year earlier and 2.7% higher than in August 2021. But Surrey is suffering from a lack of listings, with detached listings down as much as 50% and active listings for townhouses down 64% in north Surrey and 40% in South Surrey-White Rock from a year ago. Even condo listings have fallen up to 40% in key markets like Central Surrey and North Surrey, though condo prices remain relatively affordable across Surrey at an average of $485,000 in September. But if even forward-looking Surrey is facing a shortage of housing, you know something must be done to increase the supply across Metro Vancouver, or we will all be facing much higher prices in the near future.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for August 2021

“Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.”

Iris Murdoch

Townhouse sector exposes razor-thin housing supply

We are in the heat of a hastily-called federal election and housing is the central platform of the major parties, all of which say they will make housing more affordable for the so-called ‘missing middle’, us common folk who may simply need to buy a townhouse.

Yet the Lower Mainland’s townhouse market exposes the razor-thin housing supply that is the true barrier to more affordable and accessible housing. Townhouses are hugely popular, providing indoor and outdoor space and ground level living at a price that is generally half that of detached house in the same community. With the right planning, zoning and development permit streamlining, they are simpler and faster to build than high-rise condo towers and provide four to six times the density of a detached house. Yet, out of a total of 216 new listings in August across North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Richmond and South Delta combined, only four townhouses remained unsold at month’s end.

In Port Moody, where 217 townhouses have sold since January, only 9 townhouses were added to the market in August: and 8 of them sold. And, in the Fraser Valley in August, 94 out of every 100 townhouse listings were snapped up by month’s end. The result is not surprising: the average townhouse price has increased by $165,555 in the past year alone across the Lower Mainland. Townhouses are the homes the missing middle are looking for, yet the federal election promises are almost totally focused on building subsidized rental apartments. The supply is shallow across the entire Metro housing market. The total number of new listings in August were at levels last seen in 2018-19, two of the slowest years in real estate since the turn of the century.

With 3,166 properties sold across Greater Vancouver in August, new listings were in a freefall, dropping to 4,099 homes. After declining for months, total active listings at the end of the month were just 9,243 units. This compares with more than 13,500 in August of 2020 and more than 10,300 active listings in July 2021. Without a significant increase in listings in September, pressure will again be on prices this fall as buyer activity picks up from the summer break. While some pulled back from real estate activities this month, the lack of properties available likely limited activity of buyers as they waited in anticipation of new listings that never came in August. And like Charlie Brown waiting to kick the football, will it get pulled away again in September if sellers still hold back from listing?

Repeated attempts to stifle housing demand in Greater Vancouver have failed simply because people desire the freedom and financial gains that homeownership provides.
After suffering under the speculation tax, the foreign-home buyer tax, the vacant homes tax, the property transfer tax, rising development fees and community amenity costs, the current federal government now plans to add an anti-flipping tax that will chip away at home equity and punish flexibility. Metro Vancouver home buyers are the most resilient in the country, as shown in August which posted the sixth highest for any August on record.

All that is needed to regain balance in this market is increased supply.

Evidences is seen in the current condominium market. August condo sales were far above the detached and townhouse markets. And a key reason is supply and selection. In August there were more new listings – 2,158 – for condos than for detached houses and townhouses combined. As well, there are about 38,000 new condos under construction across Metro Vancouver, compared to just 3,150 new townhouses and about 2,000 detached houses.

Condo sales in August were up 22% year over year, while townhouse sales were down 7% and detached homes off by 14%. But here is the clincher: despite the soaring sales, a healthy supply has kept condo prices relatively in check: the average Lower Mainland condo apartment has increased in value by 6.9% in the past year (to $729,700), compared to 12.6% for detached houses (to $1,615,000) and 13.1% for townhouses (to $849,900), both of which are seeing a significant shortage. Supply is the answer. The rest is rhetoric. Remember this at the voting booth on September 20.

August Housing Market Highlights

Biggest year-over-year detached house price increase: Westside Vancouver, up $422,000.
Deepest month-over-month sales drop: Pitt Meadows, down 38%
Lowest number of new townhouse starts in 2021: North Vancouver City, Zero.
Biggest month-over-month detached house price decrease: Port Moody, down 0.4%
Biggest month-over-month new listings increase: Port Coquitlam, up 6%

Source: Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver August 2021

Greater Vancouver: Total housing sales in August were 3,166 – down from 3,375 (-6%) in July 2021, but up 1% from August 2020. Condominiums accounted for most of the sales, caused partially by the lack of option. With a lack of townhouses, condominium apartments capture demand from all parts of the market – investors, first- time buyers, downsizers and buyers moving from one condo to another. Total active residential listings were at 9,494 at month end compared to 13,511 at that time last year and 10,367 at the end of July; new listings in August were down 9% compared to July 2021, and down 31% compared to August 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and the August sales- to-listings ratio of 77% compared to 75% in July 2021 and 52% in August 2020.

Fraser Valley: Total residential transactions in the Fraser Valley in August were 2,087, the strongest August performance since 2005. But the inventory of homes for sale has dropped to 1980 levels. In August, only 2,107 new listings were added, down 37% from a year earlier and the lowest monthly level this year. August ended with total active inventory sitting at 4,077, a 16.8% decrease compared to July 2021, and 45% fewer than in August 2020.

Vancouver Westside: Westside detached house sales saw a decline in sales, month over month, while townhome and apartment sales were the highest since May. Price was likely a factor. The benchmark detached house price in August was $3,462,000, up 12.2% – that is $422,000 – from a year earlier, though unchanged from July 2021. (As an aside on Westside house appreciation: In 1960 Vancouver retailer Sonny Wosk paid $121,500 for a ‘mansion’ on South Granville. It was listed this week for $19.8 million.) Total Westside housing sales in August were 593, up 4% from a month earlier and 21% higher than in August 2020. Active Listings were at 2,389 at month end compared to 2,671 at that time last year and 2,558 at the end of July 2021. New listings in August were down 1% compared to July 2021 and down 24% compared to August 2020. Condos dominated the Westside market, accounting for 443 of the 597 sales and 70% of the total new listings. The total sales-to-listing ratio was 65%, up from 61% in July and far ahead of the 41% in August of last year.

Vancouver East Side: August sales reached 295 homes, down from 360 (-18%) in July 2021, down from 330 (-11%) in August 2020. Even at a benchmark price of $1,689,700, East Side detached sales in August were the second highest of any Greater Vancouver submarket, with 105 transactions. The East Side condominium market, which saw 155 sales in August, offers comparative value with a benchmark price of $629,500, about $100,000 less than the Lower Mainland average. Condo investors are quite active in this market as construction of the SkyTrain Broadway and Millennial Line extensions become visible and work starts on the massive $2.1 billion new St. Paul’s hospital campus.

Active listings were at 1,090 at month end compared to 1,319 at that time last year and 1,191 at the end of July; New Listings in August were down 12% compared to July 2021 and 42% lower than in August 2020. The supply of total residential listings is up to 4 month’s supply and the sales to listings ratio of 69% compares to 74% in July 2021 and 45% in August of last year. This remains a solid seller’s market.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver is suffering a startling lack of inventory. Only 439 homes were added in August, down nearly 50% from August of 2020 and below the 512 new listings in July of this year. North Vancouver continues to be inventory starved and with little new strata development, this will be an issue in the years to come. Not a single new townhouse has started construction this year in North Vancouver City and just 17 have started in North Vancouver District, as examples of the looming shortage. Total August sales were lower, at 212 transactions, down 16% from a month earlier and down 15% from the same month a year earlier. The supply shortage is reflected in prices: detached houses benchmarked at $1,865,800 in August and townhouse prices reached $1,140,100, third highest in Metro Vancouver and up about $114,000 from just six months ago. There were 99 condo apartment sales in August, at a benchmark price of $649,600. With the total sales-to-listing ratio running at 86%, North Vancouver has a mere 2 month supply of housing at the current sales pace. I would advise any owners considering a sale to list now into a seller’s market on steroids.

West Vancouver: New condominiums in Ambleside – the first in years in the waterfront community – are being listed north of $6 million to give an idea of the rarified market in West Vancouver. The city saw total sales fall in August to 67 transactions, down 21% from a month earlier but exactly the same as in August of last year. At a benchmark of $3,088,900, detached sales led the market, accounting for 43 of the transactions. Active Listings were at 536 at month end compared to 667 at that time last year and 572 at the end of July; New Listings in August were down 18% compared to July 2021 and down 33% compared to August 2020. With 52% of new listings selling, West Vancouver is considered a rare balanced market in Metro Vancouver.

Richmond: Richmond is seeing a spike in the supply of new homes this year, with starts rising 158% in the second quarter, to 294 units, compared with the same period in 2020. They will be needed. Richmond total housing sales in August were 3% higher than a month earlier and 29% above the pace in August 2020. New listings, however, dropped 12% from July 2021 and 20% below the same month a year ago. Due partially to a rezoning move three years, which encouraged townhouse construction along major roadways, Richmond had the highest new listings for townhouses of any Metro Vancouver market in August, with 107. But with a 99% sales-to-listing ratio, there was only one townhouse still available at month’s end from what came on. The benchmark price of a Richmond townhouse is now $938,400. Detached houses now sell at a benchmark of $1,9120,400, up 10.1% from six months earlier. Richmond’s inventory of total residential listings is down to a 3 month’s supply, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 82% in August.

Ladner: Like all of South Delta, Ladner should be getting ready for a new 8-lane, $4.15 billion traffic tunnel expected to be built by 2030, replacing the current George Massey crossing. The Massey Tunnel replacement has been debated for years, but the province appears confident this time. Whenever it is opened, it will change Ladner home values forever. Ladner, where the benchmark detached house price in August was $1,287,300, saw a total of 35 residential sales, down 6% from a month earlier. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 77%, active listings were up 9% from July and there is an estimated 3 month supply of inventory.

Tsawwassen: This South Delta community bucked the Metro sales trends in August as sales rose 28% from July, to 74 transactions. It fit the listing pattern, however, as active listings dropped to 142 homes, down from 168 in July and about 60% below August 2020. The result is a screaming seller’s market, with the sales-to-listing ratio at 112% in August – highest in Metro Vancouver. Tsawwassen has posted a 3.1% composite home price increase over the last three months, also the strongest in the Metro region. This should be a strong September market- if buyers can find anything left to buy.

Burnaby East: This more affordable market – the composite benchmark home price is $1,018,300, the lowest in Burnaby – saw total sales drop 37% in August from a month earlier, to just 29 transactions. Active listings were 83 at month end, unchanged from July; New listings were down 11% compared to July 2021 and 20% lower compared to August 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 3 month’s as the sales-to-listings ratio dipped to 57% compared to 81% in July 2021. This is a seller’s market that is tilting towards balance.

Burnaby North: As if North Burnaby didn’t have enough going for it, a new $127 million community centre has just been announced for its Confederation Park, which already has three large community complexes. The new centre will address the rapid growth in the market, which also includes the massive Brentwood development. Total housing sales in August were down 8% from July 2021 and when compared to August of last year. Active Listings were at 467 at month end compared to 591 at that time last year and 497 at the end of July. New listings in August were down 12% compared to July 2021, and down 31% compared to August 2020. The current sales to listings ratio of 76% reflects the ongoing seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Burnaby South has the highest detached house prices in the municipality, at a benchmark of $1,788,100 in August, but it also has the most stable sales. Total August transactions, at 199 homes, were down just 1% from July and 53% higher than in August 2020. With new listings increasing 4% from July, the August sales-to-listing ratio was 71%, down slightly from the 75% pace in July, but still indicative of a seller’s advantage.

New Westminster: That rumbling noise from the Royal City waterfront in September will be from 429 cement trucks feeding the largest continuous concrete pour in the Metro region this year, for a 53-storey condo high-rise rising from the Quay. Condos are big news in New West. In August 103 condo apartments sold, dwarfing the 23 sales of townhouses and 21 detached house transactions. While total sales were down 10% from July, this remains a clear seller’s market. Condo transactions represented an 81% sales-to-listing ratio and 91% of new listings for detached houses sold during the month, at a benchmark price of $1,328.500. This compares to condo prices at $567,100 and townhouse benchmarks at $845,500. The current supply of total residential listings is steady at a 2 month’s supply.

Coquitlam: While Coquitlam Town Centre continues to emerge, Burquitlam’s master planned neighbourhood, also linked to SkyTrain, is coming to life big time. In the works are a new $77 million YMCA fitness and health centre, 31 and 50-storey condo towers, a new park and a new police station, plus a retail village, with much of it completed within two years. With an overall sales-to-listing ratio of 93% in August, Coquitlam is also a very strong housing market. The composite home prices is $1,093,400, virtually unchanged for three months, as are sales which were up 3% from July to 293 transactions, even as new listings were down 11% in the same period.

Port Moody: The small waterfront suburban city has had development challenges in the past, but has just received $403,000 in funding from the Union of B.C. Municipalities, money that is meant to streamline the development process. The PoMo market is tight, with a drop in total new listings – just 76 in August – and a sales-to-listing ratio of 73% that spiked to 100% for townhouse listings. This is a seller’s market and anything to help increase supply would likely be appreciated by buyers.

Port Coquitlam: Port Coquitlam is the affordable destination in the Tri-Cities, the only market where the composite benchmark is under $1 million, at $924,300 in August. One can buy condo apartments at a benchmark of $523,300, even less. Total sales in August were down 6% from a month earlier, at 103 transactions, but new listings were up 6%, which is rare in Metro Vancouver. The August sales-to-listing ratio was a robust 84% and hit 94% in July, indicating a seller’s market where the inventory is moving quite quickly.

Pitt Meadows: With a composite home benchmark price of $924,300 in August, Pitt Meadows was automatically on the radar for family buyers. Condos priced at a benchmark of $544,300, a value that has held steady for three months, continue to attract first-time buyers and investors. Sales have slowed, though, with August transactions down 38% from July, though listings were up modestly from a month earlier at 49. The August sales-to-listing ratio dropped to 64%, compared to a stunning 108% in July.

Maple Ridge: Active listings in August plunged more than 50% from a year ago, down to 318 homes, and new listings were off 7% compared to last month. But new supply is coming, with 174 new townhouses and 383 new condo apartments under construction. Sales remain strong, down a mere 2% from July in August to 185 transactions. With a composite home price of just over $1 million, Maple Ridge edge as an affordable market is being challenged, but the benchmark price for townhouses is $686,900, lowest in Greater Vancouver, and these prices have held stable, up just 1.3% over the past three months. With the sales-to-listing ratio at 84% in August, the new housing supply will be welcomed.

Surrey: The second-biggest B.C city saw total detached house sales rise 4.3% in August compared to July 21, but were down 11.8% from August 2020. The average detached house in Surrey sold for $1,564,060, which is nudging closer to the Greater Vancouver benchmark. Townhouse posted 301 sales in August at an average price of $715,500, up 22% from a year earlier. The lowest strata prices are in North Surrey, where townhouse benchmark at $607,500 and typical condo apartments traded at $427,500 in August.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for July 2021

Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

Theodore Roosevelt

Reality of housing shortage exposed in July

Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the reports we read about the Greater Vancouver housing market. Such as quotes from regional politicians about how much they care about making homes more affordable while continuing to restrict supply. The latest knee-slapper is the supposedly surprising news that Greater Vancouver homeowners are far more likely to own multiple homes than anywhere else in the country, despite Vancouver being among the world’s most expensive cities for housing.

The reality, of course, is that Vancouver’s consistently elevated prices are the very reason some people want to own as many homes as possible.

What should be surprising is that more Vancouver homeowners don’t do the same thing, especially today with both mortgage lending rates and housing supply at incredibly low levels.

In Greater Vancouver the average value of a home—a composite of detached houses, condo apartments and townhouses—has increased by $351,000 in the past five years. Since July 2020, the average detached house price in Greater Vancouver has risen by $312,000, in a region where the average annual household income is $100,600.

In the past six months, the typical Greater Vancouver home has increased in value by 13%, while the annual interest rate on mortgage is less than 3%. Homeowners can do the math. Leveraging the existing equity in a home to buy another property makes sound economic sense. Many see it as only proven way to protect a family from the ravages of inflation. It shouldn’t be surprising.

In July, however, Greater Vancouver buyers of all types faced a dilemma: the number of new listings fell to the lowest level of any month this year, down 26.4% from a year earlier and 25.2% below the level in June 2021. Fraser Valley listings hit a 40-year low. It is normal in July for both sellers and buyers to take a summer breather, especially this year following record-breaking sale and price increases. July sales were down for the fourth straight month in a market distracted by great summer weather and the lifting of most COVID-19 restrictions. The concern, though, is whether there will be enough listings to meet the inevitable uptick in demand as the summer wanes.

The gap between listings and sales is tightening. In July only 4,377 new listings of all types of homes were added to the market, but sales totaled 3,372 transactions. Total active listings across Greater Vancouver are 12.2% lower than the 10-year average for July, while sales are 13% higher.

The result is that the July sales-to-active-listing ratio was 33.3% and this tightened to 37.3% for condominium apartments and 47.7% for townhouses, the most in-demand housing sector across the Lower Mainland. The benchmark townhouse price is now $949,900, up 16% – nearly $152,000 from the same month last year, a compelling reason for investors to buy another townhouse.

The problem is finding one. Aside from the lack of listings, there are only 1,149 new townhouses under construction in all of Greater Vancouver. In the City of Vancouver just 58 new townhouses have started this year. The townhouse shortage is acute in many markets where sales outstripped supply in July, including South Delta, Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and Whistler-Pemberton. In Port Moody, for instance, there were only 17 new listings for townhouses but 47 sales in the month, exhausting the total inventory of active listings. Many other markets, such as Coquitlam where July townhouse sales accounted for 95% of listings, are close to near-zero inventory.

Balance in our real estate market will never be achieved without some serious consideration on increasing the supply long term.

Townhouse market snapshot for July 2021

Townhouse active listings, Greater Vancouver: 689
Townhouse active listings, Surrey: 1,156
Lowest price townhouse, Maple Ridge: $668,000
Highest townhouse sales-to-listing ratio: Port Moody at 276%.
Total townhouses under construction, City of Vancouver: 95
Total townhouses under construction, City of Surrey: 1,139

Greater Vancouver: We suspect the seasonal sales slowdown in July was aggravated by buyers waiting for new listings that never arrived. Still, with 3,375 transactions, this was the sixth-highest July for sales in history, combined with the lowest number of new listings for a July in 11 years.

The July benchmark price for a Greater Vancouver detached house was $1,801,000, compared to $736,900 for a condo apartment. This helps explain why condominium apartment sales posted the largest year-over-year increase in July, rising 19%, while detached house sales were down 6% and townhouse sales, largely due to a lack of listings, were unchanged from July 2020. Condominiums accounted for 49% of all sales in July, but both new and active listings for condo apartments were down 21% from a year earlier. This compares with a 7% decline in total detached house listings and a 34% fewer listings for townhouses when compared with a year earlier.

As we roll into August and the traditionally high sales seen in September, the shortage of homes for sale, particularly in the strata sector, will be the headline news. Active listings have been falling month-over-month since May. If you are a homeowner and have considered listing, now may be the best time this year to come to a market that is packed with eager and frustrated buyers.

Fraser Valley: The inventory of active listings in the Fraser Valley fell to the lowest level in July in 40 years, after total active listings fell to 4,901, down 33% from July 2020 and 10.5% lower than in June 2021. Total sales also slowed, down 11% from June 2021 to 2,006, but were still 15% above the 10-year average for the month. A bright spot is the large inventory of townhouses on the Fraser Valley market, when compared with Greater Vancouver.

Vancouver Westside: The benchmark price of a detached house on Vancouver’s Westside in July reached $3,466,200, virtually unchanged ( up 0.2%) from a month earlier but 17.6% higher than in July 2020. With 93 sales in July, detached sales on the Westside this year total 766 houses, up from 444 in the first seven months of 2020. Condo apartment sales dominated July on the Westside with 419 transactions, at a benchmark price of $829,300. Townhouse sales dipped to 57 in July, down from 74 in June, as a lack of new listings – just 87 – kept some buyers sidelined. In all, the Westside sales to listing ratio in July was at 62%, a strong seller’s environment in Greater Vancouver’s most expensive market.

Vancouver East Side: As we have been noted for some months, Vancouver’s East Side story is one of rising sales of detached houses, easily eclipsing the more expensive Westside. In July, 144 detached houses sold in the East at a benchmark price of $1,688,500, a price nearly 50% lower than the 93 houses sold west of Quebec Street. Investors are very active right across the East Side, especially in the condominium market, spurred on by the visual start of the Broadway Corridor SkyTrain extension and settling down of price increases, which has seen condo prices hold steady for three months at $632,300. Townhouse sales, at 57, were the same on both the East Side and Westside in July, butt the East Side price was about $210,000 lower at a benchmark of $1,165,000. The supply of total East Side residential listings is steady at three months and the sales- to-listings ratio in July is a high 74%, signalling a continued seller’s market.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver District leaders were voted in two years ago with pledge to slow residential development. In July, after a year-long review, the District now says it wants to increase the supply, but to prioritize “rental, social, and supportive housing projects.” Bottom line is little will be done to address the acute shortage of market housing. In June, latest monthly data available, only 17 new homes had started in all of North Vancouver and there were no townhouse starts at all. The lack of supply has led to the second-highest suburban home prices in Metro Vancouver, at a composite benchmark of $1,226,000. July total housing sales across North Vancouver, at 252, were down 22% from June, one of the biggest drops in the region and off 6% from July 2020. Active listings plunged to 512 in July, down from 620 in June. The month’s supply of total residential listings is a tight two-months, and a sales-to-new-listings ratio of 84% keeps North Vancouver among the strongest seller’s market in the province.

West Vancouver: Perhaps the most prestigious housing enclave in Canada, with a July benchmark house price of $3,121,800, West Vancouver detached house sales dipped to 54 transactions in July, down from 60 a month earlier but unchanged compared to July 2020. A total of 21 condos sold in July at a benchmark of $995,000. Active listings were at 572 in June, compared to 618 at the end of June. New listings were down 25% from June 202 and 20% below July 2020. West Vancouver is a relatively balanced on high-priced perch, with about a seven-month supply and a sales-to-listing ratio in July at 53%, up from 42% a month earlier.

Richmond: Total housing sales and new listings both dropped sharply in July, down, respectively, 11% and 15% from a month earlier. The big drop was seen in detached house transactions, which fell to 94, down 61% from June, even as the benchmark house price held steady at $1,910,000. Condo sales were among the highest in the Metro region, with 236 apartments selling at median price of $620,000. Richmond had the highest number of new listings for townhouses, with 124, but 79% of these sold in July, pushing the benchmark townhouse price up a further 1% from a month earlier to $932,600. Richmond’s supply of total residential listings is up to a four-month’s supply, if the current sales trend continues.

Burnaby East: The smallest of the three Burnaby markets profiled, Burnaby East posted 46 total housing sales in July, down 6% from June but 32.4% higher than in July 2020. Active listings, though, dropped to just 83, down from 104 in June 2021. Benchmark detached house prices, at $1,431,000, and condo apartment prices, at $728,000, were virtually unchanged from a month earlier. The overall sales-to-listing ratio is 89%, indicating a strong seller’s market.

Burnaby North: Tunnels are being bored through Burnaby Mountain this summer for an oil pipeline that will link Burnaby’s tidewater to the Alberta oil fields. The action has apparently helped fuel demand for detached houses, as prices have increased 18.2% in the past year, the biggest increase in Burnaby, to $1,746,800. A large supply of new condo apartments completed in the Brentwood area likely affected benchmark condo prices, which were virtually unchanged in July from a month earlier, at $716,600. The overall sales-to-listing ratio of 73%, however, points to higher home prices in this seller’s market.

Burnaby South: A total of 202 residential properties sold in July, down 7% from a month earlier, but new listings dropped month-over-month by 24%, setting up a very tight 73% sales-to-listing ratio. As of the of July there were only 585 total active listings, enough to last just three months at the current sales pace. The composite benchmark detached house price in July was $1,774,500, highest in Burnaby, and up 1.1% from a month earlier.

New Westminster: Stability characterized the ‘Royal City ’in July as housing sales and prices were a near mirror image of June. Detached house sales, at 26, were identical, townhouse sales were up by one in July to 20, and apartment sales increased by 5 transactions to 113 in July.

The composite home price in July was also nearly unchanged, rising 0.9% to $721,300. The big difference was in new listings, which dropped to 20% month over month, with total active listings down 26% to 347 in July. With an overall sales-to-listing ratio of 86%, up from 61% in June, New Westminster remained a very active seller’s market this July.

Coquitlam: There are 3,060 new homes under construction right now in Coquitlam, including 231 townhouses and 2,652 apartments, most of which are condominiums. This is encouraging because active listings for resale homes are falling, dropping to 645 in July, down from 745 a month earlier. New listings fell 20% month-over-month. Sales also slowed, down 11% from June to a total of 292 in July, but benchmark prices stayed virtually unchanged, with detached house values at $1,505,400; townhouse prices up 0.5% to $847,500; and condo apartment prices rock steady from a month earlier at $588,900. The detached house sales success ratio is 105%, however, with townhouses seeing an 89% sales-to-listing ratio and 76% of condo listings selling in July, the stage is set for price appreciation if more listings don’t arrive soon.

Port Moody: The townhouse shortage is very apparent in Port Moody, where the sales-to-listing ratio in July was a startling 276%. There were just 17 new listings for townhouses in the month but there were 47 sales, meaning the inventory of total listings is disappearing quickly. I suspect there have been multiple offers as the benchmark townhouse price was up a further 1.2% in July from a month earlier, at $761,000. Sales of detached houses were also strong, with a 91% sales-to-listing ratio and benchmark prices unchanged up 0.7% from a month earlier, at $1.863,800, highest in the Tri-Cities.

Port Coquitlam: First-time buyers and investors are likely taking a close look at Port Coquitlam. The most affordable housing market in the Tri-Cities, PoCo is close enough to SkyTrain to make it accessible for commuters. The benchmark condo price, at $528,900 in July, was unchanged from June and is about $210,000 lower than the Greater Vancouver average. Total home sales in July were down 26% from June and 13% lower than in July 2020, at 103 transactions. This is a sleeper market that is awakening, reflected in the 94% sales-to-listing ratio in July.

Pitt Meadows: Perhaps it was the summer distraction in the lake-endowed community, but Pitt Meadows saw both sellers and buyers taking a break in July. New listings dropped 40% from a month earlier and sales fell 11% to just 39 transactions. The benchmark price for a detached house dipped just 0.8% month-to-month, to $1,193,800, with townhouse prices and condo apartment prices also virtually unchanged at $753,200 and $543,500, respectively. As of June there were only 33 new townhouses and no new condo apartments under construction in Pitt Meadows. A startling 106% sales-to-listing ratio in July is a signal that Pitt Meadow prices may rise if supply falls any further.

Maple Ridge: There are 157 townhouses under construction in Maple Ridge, including the 44 that started this year. Many of these new units are likely selling out, however, as the sales-to-listing ratio for resale townhouses topped 100% in July. Townhouse benchmark prices were $688,800 in July and condo apartments at $425,900, both among the lowest in Greater Vancouver. Detached house prices, at $1,129,900, were unchanged from June after rocketing up 34% year-over-year.

Ladner: The supply pressure is being felt by buyers in Ladner, where currently only 8 townhomes and 11 apartments are available for sale. There are only about 68 new townhouses under construction in all of Delta, but few are in Ladner. Active listings fell to 77 in July, down nearly 50% from a month earlier, and new listings are down 40% from a month earlier. With a sales-to-listing ratio of 122% in July, frustrated buyers bid condo prices up 2.6% in July from a month earlier, to $583,700. So far townhouse prices are holding steady at $754,200 after surging 11% over the past six months, and the detached house price is up 15.2% in the same period to a July benchmark of $1,263,400.

Tsawwassen: Don’t expect to see lot of new market residential in Tsawwassen. Even a modest 48-unit rental building is currently facing opposition. A shame, because demand remains high in this sunny community. While total sales were down 17% in July from June, new listings fell 35% and there were only 168 homes of all kind on the market at the of July, compared to 295 at the same time last year. With a sales-to-listing ratio hitting 89%, Tsawwassen’s composite home price has increased 12.3% over the past six months to $1,145,700 as of July.

Surrey: B.C.’s second-largest city is a safety valve for those who want to buy a townhouse but have difficulty finding one in Greater Vancouver. There are 1,139 new townhouses under construction in Surrey, compared to 1,149 in all of Greater Vancouver. In July, there were also 1,156 active listings for resale townhouses, com. Surrey’s average townhouse price in July was $710,200, up 1.1% from a month earlier.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for June 2021

We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

Satchel Paige

Balanced market seen holding this summer

June housing sales in Greater Vancouver were down 11.4% from May to the lowest level since January this year as the market wilted in the record-setting heat. Yet, with 3,842 transactions in the month, it remained the eighth-highest June on record in Greater Vancouver.

More telling, perhaps, is the direction of prices, which increased just 0.2 per cent from May, the lowest month-over-month increase in at least a year. As June ended, the composite price of all homes sold in Greater Vancouver was $1,175,100. The value of detached houses sold was unchanged from a month earlier at $1,801,000.

But sharp eyes will notice an anomaly: outlying markets that had been posting the highest year-over-year price increases reported the biggest month-over-month decline in detached house prices in June.

Detached house prices on Bowen Island, which had soared 34% annually as of May, posted a 0.9% price decline in June compared to May. Whistler, where prices had jumped 38% from a year earlier, had prices drop 1.8% in June from a month earlier. Ladner prices fell 0.6% from May to June, after seeing an annual acceleration of 27%.

Across the Fraser Valley, total sales fell 24% from May to June and the average detached house price dropped by 4% month-over-month.

Meanwhile on Vancouver’s West Side – the epicenter of B.C. urbanity – the benchmark price of a detached house increased 2.2 per cent in June from May, the highest increase in Greater Vancouver.

We don’t think this is surprising, or a short-term trend. September is expected to welcome in the fourth and final phase of B.C.’s post-pandemic reopening. This means international borders will open, all businesses will be back in action and thousands of workers will return to the office. The big city will look increasingly tempting as hockey games open to crowds, major concerts tune up and Vancouver’s restaurants, pubs and theatres are open for business.

Expect to see home sales and prices, not just in Vancouver but across the entire region, continue to increase. The reason is quite simply the undeniable law of supply of demand.

From 2010 to 2020, B.C.’s population increased by 737,206 while only 316,510 housing units were built. In 2020, just 39,000 housing units were completed in B.C., up just 3% from 2019.

Some catch-up is taking place. In the first five months of this year, Metro Vancouver new home registrations were up 69% compared to the same period in 2020. About 18,000 new non-rental homes were registered in Metro Vancouver so far this year.

Still, with resale home sales averaging more than 4,000 per month and 50% of new-multi-family strata projects selling out – a pace of around 2,800 per month – supply is barely keeping pace with demand. In fact, the number of active listings in June were down 1% from a month earlier and new listings down 18% compared to May.

The number of Metro Vancouver properties sold in the first six months of the year is the second highest on record, just below the first half of 2016. Without a substantial supply in homes available, that demand continues to create pressure on prices.

The revised mortgage “stress test” rules came into place June 1, but with multiple offers still significantly occurring below $1 million, the effects of this change don’t seem to have had much effect. Demand is strong at the lower price levels and the continued lack of homes available for sale will continue to create an extremely competitive landscape.

And remember, you only have to qualify for the stress test 5.25% mortgage rate, not pay it.

Right now, it is possible to secure a five-year variable mortgage at 0.99%, perhaps the lowest rate in Canadian history.

While this summer is likely to lead to less activity in the real estate market, it will provide opportunity. Sellers should consider listing during this time as there will be less new listings compared to the last four months, and buyers that are looking will likely be serious. With the Real Estate Council of BC and the Superintendent of Real Estate consenting to open houses and in-person showings again, access to homes will be also much easier.

Metro Vancouver June highlights:

• Highest detached house price increase from May: West Vancouver, up 3.4%

• Highest condominium price increase from May: Maple Ridge, up 3%

• Biggest decrease in detached house sales from May: Surrey, down 29.8%

• Lowest price detached houses in June: Sunshine Coast, at $838,300

• Highest price detached house in June: Vancouver’s West Side, at $3.38 million

• Top small market for investors to watch: Ladner

Vancouver Westside: Total West Side housing sales in June, at 616 transactions, were down 16% from May, but 51% higher than in June 2020. New Listings in June were down 13% compared to May 2021, yet up 10% compared to June 2020. The result is a 48% sales-to-new-listing ratio, and a subsequent price increase. In June the benchmark West Side detached house price, for example, was $3,458,300, up 16.3% from a year earlier and 2.2% higher – that is $76,000 – than a month earlier. The total current inventory of residential listings is steady at a four month’s supply, signaling a continued seller’s market. Condo investors should note that West Side apartment prices have not budged much in two months and are now less expensive, at $831,200, than they were three years ago, while average rents have increased.

Vancouver East Side: The East Side of Vancouver continues as a hot market, with June sales up 5% from May, to 451, a 61% increase from June 2020. New listings dropped to just 1,071 homes, down 17% from a year ago. The composite benchmark home price was down 0.2% from May and the detached house price fell 0.8%,month-over-month to $1,695,500. There is now a 3-month supply of listings on the East Side market and the sales-to-listing ratio is 66%, one of the strongest levels in Metro Vancouver. With prices moderating this summer despite the healthy sales, buyers may want to take advantage.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver saw listings of homes for sale drop 21% in June from a month earlier. June sale transactions fell 10% from May, to 322, and composite benchmark prices was up just 0.6 per cent from a month earlier, to $1,123,800, with detached houses also virtually unchanged at $1,914,000. On the resale market, there is about a 2-month supply of homes for sale, and the sales to listing ratio is 70%, signalling a seller’s market. There are 33 new condo projects and 25 townhouse developments underway across North Vancouver City and District, so future supply, albeit more expensive, is coming.

West Vancouver: West Vancouver is primarily a detached house market, so city proposals that would reduce the size of new houses and at the same time allow coach houses and secondary suites are worth watching. Plans call for the floor-space ratio on large lots reduced from 0.35 to 0.30, with a maximum of 2,200 square feet of house allowed on smaller lots. However, the city is also considering allowing an 800-square foot ‘bonus’ for a separate coach house (or laneway house) and 500 square feet for a secondary suite. The bonus would also be applied on lots with homes built prior to 1976, provided that the original house is retained. The new rules, if all approved, would come in January of 2022. Meanwhile, there was little change in West Vancouver’s housing market in June: sales were down 1% from May and active listings dropped by just 7 homes from a month earlier. West Vancouver’s detached house price is now $3,152,500, up just 0.4% from May, but 21.5% higher than in June 2020.

Richmond: You may not notice because of the construction dust coming from 1,000 new multi-family homes being built at the Richmond Centre shopping centre site, but Richmond housing sales dipped 7% in June from a month earlier, to 472 transactions, and new listings were down 15%, month-over-month. The sales-to-listing ratio is a healthy 66%, however, which keeps this a seller’s market. Richmond is considered a major destination for foreign buyers and new immigrants so the expected opening of international borders by this September is reason for confidence for home sellers and developers. The June detached house price in Richmond was unchanged from May at $1,910,500, but up almost 20% from a year earlier.

Ladner: A game-changing decision is expected “shortly”, 16 months after the federal government said funding is available for either an eight-lane new tunnel or an eight-lane bridge to replace the aging Massey Tunnel. When approved the decision could have a profound effect on Ladner property values. Ladner is a small market – just 52 home sales and 100 active listings in June – but developers and the local council apparently have big plans for the waterfront community. Buyers do too. In June, Ladner’s sales-to-listing ratio was 98%. I humbly suggest that Ladner may the prime sleeper market in Metro Vancouver.

Tsawwassen: Total June housing sales in Tsawwassen reached 70, down 26% from May but up 100% from June of last year. Active Listings were 185, compared to 270 at that time in 2020, and 182 at the end of May; New listings in June were down 22% compared to May 2021 and down 14% compared to June 2020. This remains a strong seller’s market, with a sales-to-listings ratio of 70% compared to 74% in May.

Burnaby East: Burnaby East, like many areas, saw housing sales decline in June, dropping 8% from May to just 49 total sales. What is different here is that the sales-to-listing ratio is a scorching 89%, as new listings dropped nearly 30%. There is only a 2-month supply of homes for sale if the current trends continue. The benchmark house price in East Burnaby is now $1,440,000, down 2% from May, the biggest month-over-month drop and the lowest house price in Burnaby.

Burnaby North: The next phase of what will be 13 new residential towers at the Amazing Burnaby site in North Burnaby goes to public hearing June 29, so this area will apparently continue to see a good supply of strata product. This is welcomed because new listings of existing homes for sale fell 21% in June compared to May and there was only 519 active listings in June compared to 215 sales. The sales-to-listing ratio is 70% so there is no shortage of demand in what is a strong seller’s market.

Burnaby South: Townhouse buyers looking for value should consider South Burnaby, which borders three municipalities and has lower townhouse prices than any of them. In June, the typical South Burnaby townhouse sold for $702,200. This is $300,000 less than in East Vancouver; $223,000 less than in Richmond; and $120,000 below the benchmark price in New Westminster. Also, Burnaby South townhouse prices are up just 8% from a year ago, compared to double-digit increases in its three neighbouring municipalities. Burnaby South also has Burnaby’s lowest priced detached houses and condo apartments. This may help explain why Burnaby South total home sales posted the smallest sales decline of all Burnaby markets in June, down 6% from May.

New Westminster: The Royal City is becoming a condo market, seen in the tower construction on the Quay and the sales performance so for this year, which has seen 702 condo apartments sell, up from 340 at the same time last year. Of the 154 total residential sales in June in New Westminster, 106 were condos, which sold for a median price of less than $550,000, the second-lowest price in Greater Vancouver. A key reason is that younger buyers have embraced New West. A recent national survey ranked New Westminster as the No. 1 B.C. city for Millennial home buyers. There is only a 2-month supply of all types of homes in New Westminster, however, as 61 per cent of listings sold in June. If you want to get into the New West action, you may want to get moving.

Coquitlam: Coquitlam, where the mayor is the former president of the B.C. homebuilders association, is doing a lot of little things right and big things brilliantly. Coquitlam was an early adapter of smaller lots and laneway houses.

Its giant Burke Mountain residential community is a huge success, its multi-faceted development at SkyTrain-linked Coquitlam Centre is forging ahead with major partners and now the city has plans for a rural-type subdivision in its Hazel-Coy area along the Coquitlam River. Details to be announced later this year, but plans call for 950 new homes over 100 acres. Coquitlam home sales were 329 in June, up 52% from June 2020, even though active listings were down 12% in the same period. The sales-to-listing ratio is 72%, an indication that many buyers are eager to buy into Coquitlam’s vision.

Port Moody: Port Moody appears to have more interest in approving rental apartments than strata projects, but the condos being developed are increasingly sophisticated: one will boast a waterfall, another a day care; another with Inlet views from a rooftop patio. Most Port Moody condos are fairly new, dating to just before and after the arrival of SkyTrain. This explains the current median condo price of $680,000, the highest in the Tri-Cities. Still, 263 condos have sold in the city in the past six months, more than double the number in the first half of 2020. The entire housing market is solid, with sales of 95 units in June, up 50% from June 2020, and a sales-to-listing ratio of 62%.

Port Coquitlam: The biggest residential development planned for Port Coquitlam is social housing, but buyers can also find comfort here, with median condo prices at under $500,000 and both detached houses and townhouse prices the lowest in the Tri-Cities. Comfort is appealing: the sales to listing ratio in June was 84%, the highest in the Tri-Cities and among the top in Greater Vancouver. Port Coquitlam is in close proximity to the giant Coquitlam Centre development, but at lower cost.

Pitt Meadows: Like many more rural markets, Pitt Meadow saw a sharp drop in total residential sales in June, with transactions dropping 19% from May to just 44 units. New Listings in June were down 6% compared to May 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 1-month’s supply, but the strong sellers’ market is a bit muted, with 73% of new listings selling in June, down from 84% in May.

Maple Ridge: Affordable, growing Maple Ridge saw 244 home sales in June, down 15% from May but 85% higher than in June 2020. The benchmark composite home price is $996,800, up 27.5% from year ago, but virtually unchanged from May at among the lowest in Greater Vancouver. Condo prices dipped 0.4% from May to $428,400 in June, the lowest in the entire region. Seller’s market conditions continue, with a sales-to-listing ratio at a startling 89% in June. With just 383 active listings on the market, prices will likely increase this summer.

Surrey: The second-largest city in the Lower Mainland saw price increases cooling in June, with average house prices, which had soared 27% from a year earlier, eking out a 0.5% increase from May to $1,511,707 in June. Sales of detached houses plunged 29.8% from May, to 421, however, an indication that the cooling may become a chill. Townhouse transactions, down 19.5% month-over-month, and condo apartment sales, down 25.3% from May, followed the downward trend. The average Surrey townhouse price in June was $747,256, while the average condo sold for $468,319, with both prices down fractionally from May.

Kevin Skipworth, Partner/Broker and Chief Economist at Dexter Realty
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Sales and Listing Report for May 2021

May home sales: $11 million an hour, 24 hours a day

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

Satchel Paige

Like the weather itself in May, the Greater Vancouver housing market was unseasonably hot but with subtle signals of cooling.

May marked the second consecutive month with sales declining in absolute numbers from the previous month, but with a 187 per cent increase in transactions compared to May of last year, it is hard to say this market is slowing. May received a boost from a sudden change in the ‘mortgage stress test’ in mid-month that extended the stress to all homebuyers, not only to those with a 20 per cent down payment. That last-minute change caused some buyers to push to close on sales before the June 1 deadline for the new stress test to begin.

Under the revised stress-test regulations, buyers must qualify at a five-year mortgage rate of 5.25 per cent, which is much higher than the actual mortgage rates available. (Scotiabank and National Bank , as examples, are currently offering five-year fixed rates of 2.14%). Buyers don’t have to pay the higher rate, just prove they can afford it.

Apparently, many can. During May, 4,346 homes were sold in Greater Vancouver and another 2,951 in the Fraser Valley, where sales were up 267%, year-over-year. Ponder these facts for a moment.

May, therefore, set an astounding pace of 235 sales per day, every day, all month long, or $11.1 million worth of transactions every hour, based on the composite Lower Mainland home price of $1.14 million.

Will the stress test affect early June sales? Not likely. June 15 marks the Phase 2 relaxing of B.C.’s COVID-19 restrictions, which could provide further confidence and impetus to the housing market.

Say what you will about the effects of the pandemic on the real estate market, optimism is always a good thing when it comes to real estate.

What could and would cool the summer market, however, is a real and sustained uptick in actual mortgage rates – and that is a possibility due to inflation fears.

You may have noticed that lumber prices are up 300% in the past year, copper prices hit a record high in May,global oil prices are 80% higher than a year ago and the Canadian dollar is at a six-year high. And have you bought a T-bone steak or filled your car with gas recently? This all signals inflationary pressure and a potential rise in the Bank of Canada rate, which has its next setting on June 9.

Best advice for homebuyers: lock-in a prequalified mortgage rate for 90 days right now.

Best advice for home sellers: accept the best offer you get and don’t bank on multiple offers over your asking price.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented housing sales cycle right across the Lower Mainland but, like the May weather, it can cool without much warning.

Metro Vancouver May highlights

Top detached housing sales: Surrey, with 600

Highest median detached house price: West Side, Vancouver, at $3,580,000

Record price for an East Vancouver detached house: $4 million, sold May 15

Lowest median condo price: Maple Ridge, at $458,000

Lowest median townhouse price: Surrey, at $696,000

Regional reports

Greater Vancouver: High prices, tougher mortgage qualification regulations and demographics are having an effect on the type of homes selling in Greater Vancouver. Sales of detached houses are now being eclipsed by sales of lower-cost townhouses and condominium apartments. This is partly a reflection of the growing influence of Millennials, who are replacing baby boomers as the prime home consumer, since Greater Vancouver has a disproportionately high number of Millennials.

In May detached home sales were up 166% year over year, but townhouse sales were up by 168% and condo apartment sales increased by 213% in the same period. Much of this is based on the fact the typical detached house in May sold for $1.8 million, while the townhouse benchmark was about half that, at $936,000, and condo apartments sold for a benchmark price of $737,100. Also, while detached house prices are similar across the region, buyers can find condo apartments for less than $600,000 in at least eight communities, including most of the Tri-Cities and South Delta. Also, while detached house prices have increased nearly 28% in the past year, townhouse prices are up 16.8% and condo prices have risen less than 8%. Clearly, many buyers, both Millennials and downsizing baby boomers, now see strata as the best value in Greater Vancouver.

In May, more than 7,000 new listings were added to the market. This was down from April and a signal that active listings may have peaked. With two straight month of lower sales month-over-month, buying levels may have also peaked.

Make no mistake it is a very active market still; we’ve just fallen off the cataclysmic highs of March and April. And that’s not a bad thing.

Vancouver Westside: There were 2,396 active listings on the Westside market in May and total sales, at 736, were also down 4% from April. With a sales-to-listings ratio of 50% there is now about a four-month inventory on the market. But the townhouse supply is disappearing more quickly. Only 125 new townhouses are under construction, but most of these have pre-sold months ago. More telling, just three new townhouse units have started so far this year. The May sales-to-new-listing ratio of existing townhouses was 60% and the benchmark price is rising 2.6% per month – twice as fast as detached houses or condos – and hit $1,274,000 in May. If you own a Westside townhouse and are considering selling, now is the time to list.

Vancouver East Side: For the first time ever, an East Side house on a 33-foot lot sold for $4 million. There were multiple bids, all from Millennial buyers, for the East 33rd house near Main Street that sold May 15. This shows just how hot the East Side has become. The benchmark price has risen 9.2 per cent in the last three months to hit $1,709,700 in May. Still, as we have noted before, East Vancouver detached houses have huge potential because of the Broadway Corridor SkyTrain extension and new employment centres, especially in the high-tech and medical sectors. We don’t think $4 million will be record East Vancouver price for long. In May, East Side total sales were down 15% from April, but up 184% from May of last year. With a sales to listing ratio of 56%, this is seller’s market with legs.

North Vancouver: North Vancouver May sales marked one of the biggest declines in the Metro region, dropping 25% from a month earlier, to 358 transactions. Condo apartments were the only sector posting higher sales in May than in April, with an increase of 21% to 207 transactions. Condo prices are now up 10% from a year ago to $654,000, but this is $400,000 less than a townhouse and $700,000 below the $1,902,000 benchmark for a detached house in North Vancouver. Total North Vancouver listings fell 11% month-over-month in May, which kept the sales-to-listing ratio at 60%, still a very active seller’s market. But the condo market is where the action is happening.

West Vancouver: West Vancouver May sales were more than double that of May 2020, but fell a sharp 22% from April, with a total of 90 sales in the month. As usual, detached houses led the transactiosns, with 60, at benchmark price of $3,139,800, a price up nearly 20% (that is around $600,000) from a year earlier. There were also 28 condo sales in May, up from 21 in April, at a benchmark price of $1,131,000, by far the highest price in Metro Vancouver. The month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 7 month’s supply and sales to listings ratio is 34%, which signals a balancing market.

Richmond: Total housing sales were 505 in May,– down 24% from April 2021, but up a startling 232% compared to May 2020. New Listings in May were down 16% compared to April 2021. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 3 month’s supply and the sales-to-listings ratio of 60%, sure signs of a continued seller’s market.

Burnaby East: May housing sales reached 53 transactions. This was down from 76 (30%) in April 2021, but 194% higher than in May 2020. Active Listings were at 117 at month end compared to 108 at that time last year and 112 at the end of April. New Listings in May were down 30% compared to April 2021, up 81% compared to May 2020 and up 56% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 68% compared to 68% in April 2021, 42% in May 2020 and 50% in May 2019.

Burnaby North: Total housing sales in May were 241– down from 316 (24%) in April 2021,but up from 79 (205%) in May 2020. New Listings in May were down 17% compared to April 2021, and up 146% compared to May 2020. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 62% compared to 68% in April 2021, 50% in May 2020 and 44% in May 2019.

Burnaby South: Total housing sales in May were 231 – down from 268 (14%) in April 2021, but up from 64 (261%) in May 2020, up from 131 (76%) in May 2019; Active Listings were at 664 at month end compared to 450 at that time last year and 629 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 13% compared to April 2021, up 204% compared to May 2020 and up 21% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 3 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 59% compared to 59% in April 2021, 50% in May 2020 and 40% in May 2019.

New Westminster: Total housing sales in May were 194 – down from 199 (3%) in April 2021, up from 73 (166%) in May 2020, up from 127 (53%) in May 2019; Active Listings were at 375 at month end compared to 356 at that time last year and 366 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 10% compared to April 2021, up 74% compared to May 2020 and down 1% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 72% compared to 66% in April 2021, 47% in May 2020 and 47% in May 2019.

Coquitlam: Total housing sales in May were 350 – down from 362 (3%) in April 2021, up from 132 (165%) in May 2020, up from 205 (77%) in May 2019; Active Listings were at 759 at month end compared to 760 at that time last year and 688 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 7% compared to April 2021, up 57% compared to May 2020 and up 10% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 61% compared to 58% in April 2021, 36% in May 2020 and 39% in May 2019.

Port Moody: Total housing sales in May were 102 – down from 126 (19%) in April 2021, up from 46 (122%) in May 2020, up from 62 (65%) in May 2019; Active Listings were at 182 at month end compared to 211 at that time last year and 178 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 15% compared to April 2021, up 56% compared to May 2020 and up 19% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 68% compared to 71% in April 2021, 47% in May 2020 and 49% in May 2019.

Port Coquitlam: Total housing sales May were 165 – down just 1% from April 2021,but up 175%) compared to May 2020. Active Listings were at 270 at month end compared to 190 at that time last year and 242 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 5% compared to April 2021, up 175% compared to May 2020 and up 34% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 66% compared to 64% in April 2021, 66% in May 2020 and 71% in May 2019.

Pitt Meadows: Total housing sales in May were 54 – up from 48 (13%) in April 2021, and 135% higher thanin May 2020, Active Listings were at 63 at month end compared to 103 at that time last year and 63 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 7% compared to April 2021, up 33% compared to May 2020 and up 7% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 1 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 84% compared to 69% in April 2021, 47% in May 2020 and 66% in May 2019.

Maple Ridge: May housing sales hit 286 – down 16%)from April 2021, but up from 111 (158%) in May 2020. Active Listings were at 444 at month end compared to 633 at that time last year and 434 at the end of April; New Listings in May were down 11% compared to April 2021, up 93% compared to May 2020 and up 9% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is up to 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 72% compared to 77% in April 2021, 54% in May 2020 and 47% in May 2019.

Ladner: Total housing sales were 49 – down 44%)from April 2021, and up from 145% from May 2020. New Listings in May were down 29% compared to April 2021, up 35% compared to May 2020 and down 24% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 75% compared to 80% in April 2021, 42% in May 2020 and 48% in May 2019.

Tsawwassen: Sales totalled 95 in May, up from 82 (16%) in April 2021, and up from 35 (171%) in May 2020. New listings in May were up 2% compared to April 2021, up 47% compared to May 2020 and up 36% compared to May 2019. Month’s supply of total residential listings is steady at 2 month’s supply (seller’s market conditions) and sales to listings ratio of 74% compared to 66% in April 2021, 40% in May 2020 and 40% in May 2019.

Surrey: If you have been wondering where the strongest detached housing market in Metro Vancouver is, look to Surrey. In May, 600 detached houses sold in Surrey, which is more than sold in Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond combined. Surrey detached sales were up 358% compared to May 2020 the highest increase in the Metro region and sales were virtually unchanged from April. The benchmark Surrey detached house price is now $1,429,300, up 31.5% from a May of last year. In all, Surrey accounted for nearly half – 1,431 – of the 2,951 total housing sales in the Fraser Valley during May.

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Sales and Listing Report for April 2021

April brings a shower of new listings

With more than 10,000 homes for sale, fear of missing out eases

“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.”

Beverly Sills

The incredible boomerang in the Metro Vancouver housing market was never more apparent than this April, as total housing sales bounced back from the lowest monthly sales on record to the highest in a 12-month span. In April of 2020 as the extent of the pandemic became apparent, housing sales virtually froze at just over 1,100 units. This April, Greater Vancouver sales had soared 343% compared to the same month a year earlier to more than 5,000 transactions to set the all-time high for the month.

In the Fraser Valley, sales were up 338 per cent, year-over-year, to 3,016 transactions. This performance may convince many sellers the Metro Vancouver housing market is now poised to roar into the record books with month-over-month sales and price increases continuing to set a record pace. In reality, though, the housing market, relatively speaking, is quietly slowing down and more balanced conditions will become the new normal, at least until the pandemic truly ends and the B.C. economy and its traditional immigration levels return.

Total Greater Vancouver sales in April were down 14% from a month earlier, the first month-over-month decline in nearly a year, and were down 9% from March in the Fraser Valley.

I know, with total sales averaging 260 per day in April, it is hard to consider this a slowing pace, but the incredible froth that has characterized the market over the past few months is settling down.

This should be welcomed by both sellers and buyers. Sellers can still expect to sell their property quickly, but in most cases will not be dealing with frantic, no-subject, multiple bids and concern about where they will find another home to buy. Fatigued buyers will regain the opportunity to shop the market more carefully and present more normal subjects and prices when negotiating on a sale.

There are number of reasons for the evolution of the market to more balanced conditions, but the main change is a huge increase in supply. In April, 8,124 new listings were added in Greater Vancouver and another 5,019 in the Fraser Valley, both the highest April level in history. The total number of homes currently listed for sale across all of Metro Vancouver is 16,275, the highest level since June of last year.

As well, new housing starts in the first-quarter of 2021 hit 7,332 units, 3,000 more than in Q1 2020. Many strata developers who had delayed or stopped projects last year, due to the pandemic, are now rushing to get product onto the market. In March alone, 3,210 new condo apartments were started, the highest March level in more than five years.

As we head into May, upcoming changes to the mortgage market stress test may spur some buyers to act quickly. If passed, effective June 1, traditional buyers with at least a 20% down payment will be required to qualify at a five-year mortgage rate of 5.25%, which is 50 basis points higher than the current stress test. But this change should not make much difference. Buyers don’t have to pay the higher rate, simply qualify for it. As of May 3, even major banks were offering five-year variable rate mortgages as low as 1.4%.

The new stress test is expected to reduce the qualifying mortgage amount by around 4%, a relatively low barrier in Metro Vancouver, where composite home prices are increasing an average of 2% every month.

APRIL 2021 MARKET HIGHLIGHTS – GREATER VANCOUVER

Total home sale increase year-over-year: 348%

Highest price detached house: Vancouver Westside at $3.3 million

Lowest price detached house: Maple Ridge, at $1.09 million

Biggest home price increase year-over-year: Bowen Island, up 45.7%

Highest sales-to-listings ratio: Ladner, at 80%

Greater Vancouver: 

The change is nearly imperceptible but is perhaps prophetic. In April, the sales-to-listing ratio slipped to 62%, down from 69% in March, the first downward movement in the ratio in months. This reflects a rush of new listings, which were 45% higher in April than the 10-year average for the month. Yet, even with 10,749 active listings, there is still less than two-month supply should sales continue at the current pace, and this drops to mere weeks of supply of townhouses in some hot suburban markets, such as Ladner. Spurred by record high prices of $1.7 million, listings of detached houses led the market, with a 14% increase from March, while condo apartment listings increased just 9%. Listings for townhouses fell 6%, month-over-month, and are now at all-time lows with only a one-month supply of townhouses across Greater Vancouver.

Total property sales in April reached 5,010 as this continues to be very much a seller’s market.

Vancouver Westside: 

The benchmark price for a detached houses on the Westside in April was $3,363,400, up 11% from a year earlier – yes, that is more than $370,000 – and 2.3% above the price in March, but still 2% lower than three years ago. With 350 new listings for detached houses added, and sales at 139, the sale-to-listing ratio was 40%, unchanged from March and indicative of a balancing market. Sales of detached houses in April were 139, down from 145 a month earlier. Condo apartments, at a benchmark price of $815,000 – a price up $70,000 from a year earlier – were the hottest Westside sector in April, posting 512 sales, down from 628 in March. Nearly 1,000 condo listings were added in April, but the sales ratio remained close to 50%. A lack of townhouse inventory – just 189 new listings – and high sales of 111 units drove the townhouse benchmark price up 4.6% from March to $1,242,600. More worrisome, not a single new townhouse has started on the Westside so far this year.

Vancouver East Side: 

The Eastside is seeing an avalanche of total new listings – up 318% from a year earlier to 1,034 in April – which has resulted in the sales-to-listing ratio dipping to 54%, down from 66% in March. The detached market is holding its own, with 221 sales in April, just 20 units less than condo apartment sales. The benchmark detached house price is $1,681,600, up 16.1% from a year earlier but still less than half the price as in the neighbouring Westside. Eastside townhouses sold in April at a benchmark of $1,002,100. Townhouse listings dropped to 136 in the month, down from 158 in March and resulting in a sales-to-listing ratio of 68%, a clear seller’s market. Eastside April condo sales saw a significant 23% decrease, month-over-month. The benchmark price of the 241 condos sold remained unchanged at close to $630,000, but the sales-to-listing ratio dropped to 60%, down from 82% in March. With more than 400 condo listings added in April, Eastside condo buyers are enjoying a wider selection and, apparently, stabilizing prices.

North Vancouver: 

North Vancouver was one of only two Greater Vancouver markets where total sales increased in April compared to March, rising 2% to 478 transactions – and up nearly 400% from April 2020. New listings dipped 5% from March, and the sales-to-listing ratio in April was 71%, up from 66% a month earlier. This is one of the hottest housing markets in the region. Prices for detached houses hit a benchmark of $1,880,400 in April and are expected to keep climbing after rocketing up 21.7% in the past year. One of the reason is a new official community plan for North Vancouver District that calls for 45% of new homes being built be multi-family units, up from 33%. Public input is now being accepted on the plan, which could lead to an increase in single-family lot assemblies in the District. April sales of condo apartments were up modestly from March to 207 transactions and the benchmark price was up 1.7% to $625,700.

West Vancouver:

 Sales and prices decreased nearly across the board in April compared to March. Detached houses, which dominate this exclusive market, were down 10% to 80 transactions and the benchmark price fell 0.7% to $3,023,200, though this was 16.1% higher than in April 2020. Total new listings were virtually unchanged from March, and there are currently 554 homes of all types for sale. The typical condo apartment price in West Vancouver is now $1,161,000, considered the highest of any Canadian community. With a five-month inventory on the market and sales-to-listing ratio of 40%, West Vancouver is shifting from a seller’s market to a balanced market.

Richmond: 

One of the most active condo apartment markets in Metro Vancouver, Richmond posted 305 condo sales in April and 987 have sold so far in 2021, compared to 487 in the first four months of last year. The benchmark condo price is now $710,000, second highest in Metro Vancouver. There are 3,302 new apartments under construction, including 244 that started this year. But new condos could become more expensive. The City of Richmond is considering a fee on new condo apartments of $3.50 per square foot in the city centre area where most new condos are being built, as a way to encourage more rental construction. This is in addition to other civic fees, the GST and rising material costs that are already driving new condo prices higher. Pricey as they may appear, resale condos represent the best buy in Richmond’s strata market. Detached house sales in Richmond were down 23% in April compared to March, with 178 transactions at benchmark of $1,798,000. Exactly the same number of townhouses sold in April, but at a benchmark price of $888,800.

Burnaby East: 

This was the only Burnaby market to post higher sales in April than in March, with an increase 9% to 76 transactions. This is likely a reflection of price, as the benchmark for a detached house in April was $1,435,100, or about $270,000 less than in Burnaby South or Burnaby North. Townhouse prices, at a benchmark of $701,700, are about $100,000 less expensive than in the rest of Burnaby, though its condo prices, at $752,000, are higher, due to the large number of relatively new condos. There are just 112 total active residential listings in Burnaby East, however. This translates to just a one-month supply at the current sales pace, and the potential of rising prices.

Burnaby North:

 Some of the largest condo towers in Metro Vancouver dominate its skyline, but Burnaby North also has a very strong detached housing market. The benchmark house price in April was $1,709,000, up 16.8% from a year earlier and 4.7% higher than in March. Total housing sales in April, at 316, were down 6% from March, but with the sales-to-listing ratio at 68%, this remains a seller’s market.

Burnaby South: 

There is long-range plan to create Burnaby’s new downtown in Metrotown, where condo apartment towers will be the largest development sector. If history is an indication, this will be among the active investor markets for off-shore buyers when pandemic travel restrictions lift. Condo buyers still have time to secure what could be solid investment. The typical Burnaby South condo apartment sells for $696,000 and prices have increased a relatively modest 3.5% from a year ago. Total April sales in the area were down 18% from March and the sales-to-listing ratio dipped to 59% compared to 70% a month earlier.

New Westminster: 

The City of New Westminster has issued a rare bulletin regarding any land owners in the vicinity of the 22nd Street SkyTrain station: “You may be approached by a developer, real estate agent, or other prospective buyer expressing interest in your property” the bulletin reads. Owners of detached houses should take note as the city has a “bold vision” for the area around the station, with a likely focus on higher-density residential. Not that house owners need an incentive. The April benchmark price of house in the Royal City was $1,287,200, up nearly 10% from just three months ago and 4.6% higher than in March. Total April residential sales were down 19% from March, but the sales-to-listing ratio of 66%, and rising prices, confirms this is a seller’s market.

Coquitlam: 

This is one of the fastest-growing regions north of the Fraser River. Coquitlam planners are processing four large master-plan developments, with a total of 31 residential and mixed-use towers, including 11 towers near the Coquitlam Centre, destined to anchor Coquitlam’s new downtown. A giant new film studio, two new schools and a new recreation centre are also on the table. While April’s total residential sales, at 362, were down 22% from a month earlier, they were 289% higher than in April 2020. The benchmark detached house price in April was $1,654,000, up nearly $100,000 from March and $600,000 from a year earlier to give an indication of demand. Condos posted a 75% sales-to-new listing ratio in April, but prices benchmarked at $576,000, lower than in Burnaby and well below the Greater Vancouver average. SkyTrain-linked Coquitlam is shaping up a solid long-term investment for families and young professionals.

Port Moody:

Despite Port Moody’s reputation as a go-slow zone for development, 1,431 apartments are under construction in the small waterfront community, including 227 that started in March. Condos sold for a benchmark of $708,400 in April, by far the highest price in the Tri-City region and condo sales are holding steady at 57 transactions a month this year. This reflects growing demand for Port Moody housing, with total sales in April up 350% from April 2020 and a sales-to-listing ratio of 71%. Port Moody’s detached house price data is skewed because it includes the prestige Belcarra area, so it is possible to find houses in central Port Moody for less than the $1,814,000 benchmark.

Port Coquitlam: 

Considered the quietest of the Tri-City communities – only 46 homes have started construction this year – Port Coquitlam has its charm for buyers, including the lowest composite home price in the region, at a benchmark of $913,500 in April. Detached house prices are up 27.2% from a year ago to $1,248,500, the highest increase in the Tri-City but still the lowest house price in the region. Condo buyers may also be attracted to the prices, with condos selling for $517,900, among the lowest among suburban markets north of the Fraser River. Demand and low supply have driven local townhouse prices up 18.7% in the past year, to $774,700, however.

Pitt Meadows: 

This bucolic community saw just 48 total housing sales in April, down 9% from March, but with active listings at just 63, there is only a one-month inventory on the market and 69% of the new listings sold in April. One can buy a townhouse in Pitt Meadows in the $640,00 range and condos for $450,000 or even less, though newer units are priced higher. This is a seller’s market with a tight inventory.

Maple Ridge: 

Maple Ridge posted the highest increase in detached house prices of any market aside from Bowen Island in April, with prices up 30.4% to $1,098,000, which incidentally is about $400,000 less than Bowen Island. Like Bowen, Maple Ridge has been “discovered” recently by those leaving the city. A selection of townhouses, with an average of about 100 new listings per month this year and benchmark prices of $664,300 – lowest in Greater Vancouver – is helping to attract both families and downsizers.

Ladner: 

This small community on the southwestern edge of Greater Vancouver could represent a solid long-term real estate investments. Plans are being drafted for a village redevelopment around its historic waterfront and, sooner or later, an improved and larger George Massey Tunnel will smooth the commute. This helps to explain why Ladner detached house prices have increased 23.8% in the past year, one of the biggest price spikes in Greater Vancouver, to reach $1,270,600 in April. Also, the sales-to-new listing ratio was 80% in April, up from 78% in March, showing that Ladner is one of the top seller’s markets in the Lower Mainland.

Tsawwassen: 

It really is sunnier in Tsawwassen than most other areas of Greater Vancouver but the heat Is really in the housing market with April sales up 242% from April 2020 to 82 transactions. That heat cooled somewhat in April, with total sales down 24% from March and the sales-to-listing ratio at 66%, down from 77% from a month earlier. After consistent annual price increases over the past decade, the benchmark detached house price in April reached $1,348,500, up a startling 22.2% – or nearly $300,000 – from April of last year. Despite a low inventory, Tsawwassen townhouse prices are relatively affordable, at a current benchmark of $675,200, which is the second-lowest in Greater Vancouver,

Surrey: We add the second-largest city in B.C to our market round-up because it is attracting so much interest from Greater Vancouver buyers. The benchmark detached house in Surrey in April was up 28.1% year-over-year to $1,396,000 but it may be the townhouse market that is proving a pivotal attraction. In April there were 1,574 townhouses for sale in Surrey, compared to 1,324 in all of Greater Vancouver. As well, townhouse prices in a Central Surrey, which has the city’s most townhouse transactions, were $669,600 in April, compared to a Greater Vancouver benchmark of $900,900. Overall Surrey condo prices in April averaged $464,500, a price also very hard to find north of the Fraser River.

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Sales and Listing Report for March 2021

Potential Immigration the wild card in Metro housing market

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

March housing sales skyrocketed more than 126% higher than in March 2020 – the month the COVID-19 pandemic began – to the highest monthly sales pace ever recorded in Greater Vancouver.

The composite benchmark home price leaped 9.9% in March from a year earlier and detached house prices surged nearly 18% higher to all-time high of $1.7 million.

The unprecedented action of 5,843 sales in the month – more than 174 sales every day – blew past housing forecasts and eclipsed the former all-time sales record set in March of 2016, long recognized as the peak year for housing sales in the region.

Dexter agents have been running on the frontline of the current pace, and we are detecting some buyer fatigue, which is understandable. This market can’t continue at this level forever and, as we’ve seen in previous years, March can be the high point of the year for housing sales.

There could be some truth in that theory, but this year and this market is consistently shattering all the traditions.

We believe there is one wild card yet to be played and it could shift the housing market into hyperdrive later this year. This is a potential rebound of international buyers and immigration, which were credited for sparking high home sales in the mid-1980s and in 2016-18 and could do so again in 2021.

In March of 2020 foreign buyers accounted for 24 residential property transactions in Metro Vancouver, despite the provincial 20% tax on homes. But, after COVID-19 travel restrictions hit, that dropped to single-digits per month. We believe pent-up demand and a war chest is building and it could be unleashed on the Vancouver-area housing market later this year.

For instance, according to recent report from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC), $43.6 billion was transferred from troubled Hong Kong to Canada in 2020, and this, FINTRAC said, does not include transfers via cryptocurrencies, between financial institutions, or transfer under $10,000.

As well, Canada was posting the highest population growth in the developed world prior to COVID-19, according to Statistics Canada, with its 1.4% annual growth rate in 2019 more than twice as high as the U.S. and Great Britain, which tied for second place. The Canadian government has increased its annual immigration quota to 400,000 people per year. The inflow has been stalled by the pandemic but when that ends the rush into Canada will begin. Wild as the current Metro Vancouver market is right now, it may be the calm before the storm.

And with some calls to cool the market, and concern over low interest rates creating challenges when rates do eventually rise, we have to remember that Canada has one of the soundest lending practices in the world and with the current Stress Test in place, buyers are qualifying at rates much higher than we are seeing in the market place right now. So, while demand side measures are easy for governments to tinker with and implement, supply side realities need to be a focus or this rush of demand will once again be pushed into the future and create challenges yet again.

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Sales and Listing Report for February 2021

February 2021: Watch for the rise of the strata market

February is traditionally a ho-hum period in residential real estate but this year, as with so much of the recent Metro Vancouver market, this February proved exceptional. Housing sales hit the highest monthly level since June 2017, with prices arcing nearly 9% higher than a year earlier to a composite benchmark of $1,084,000. The typical detached house now sells for more than $1.62 million –an average increase of $221,000 from February 2020 – with sales up 80% from a year ago.

Detached houses have been the headline news in Metro Vancouver for the past year, but we believe February marked the beginning of a major shift towards the townhouses and condominium sector.

February townhouses sales were up 82% year-over-year and condo apartment sales were 65% higher. Together, strata property sales accounted for nearly 65% of all February transactions, with condo apartments leading all sectors with a blistering pace of 62 sales every day. Condo developers reported “a sense of urgency” in new condo sales in February as 1,400 new condos started construction and 1,759 existing condos sold.

It may come down simply to supply. There is a lack of detached houses to meet demand, despite a 21% spike in new listings in February, and there has been a chronic shortage of townhouses, with just a 1.5-month supply now available. In Port Moody and Maple Ridge there were almost twice as many townhouse sales as active listings in February. And on Vancouver’s West Side the number of townhouse sales in February were the highest since June 2017.

Investors, we believe, are pivoting to condos, looking towards the easing of pandemic regulations that will bring vibrancy back to downtowns and foreign students back to Metro Vancouver campuses. Affordability is part of the equation. In the past year, condo prices have increased just 2.5%, while townhouse prices jumped 7.2% and detached houses soared 13.7%. In East Vancouver, as one example, the typical condo apartment sells for $599,000 while a neighbouring detached house sells for $1.58 million.

For an increasing number of buyers, condominiums are now the first, the smartest and only choice.

What to expect going forward…

We are now experiencing a perfect storm that is churning housing demand and prices to unprecedented heights. Mortgage interest rates are at the lowest level in our lifetime, even our parents lifetime. This combines with intense buyer demand and simply not enough listings, all in an environment where the home is now the centre for living and work for thousands of families. Multiple offers are now the majority of transactions. We don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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Sales and Listing Report for January 2021

Welcome to January 2021 – please fasten your seat belts

Some will express surprise that, as we enter the second year of a global pandemic, the rush to purchase homes in Greater Vancouver continues the startling sales pace seen in 2020. But there is a simple reason for the January surge: price appreciation as accelerating buyer demand collides with a stubborn lack of inventory.

In the past 12 months, the average price (based on dollar volume of sales) of a Greater Vancouver home has increased in value by $93,529, which is far higher than the average household income. In the detached house sector, where sales exploded in January, the average year-over-year price increase is well into the six digits. Dexter agents experienced this first hand during the last week of January as a North Burnaby detached house listing had a stunning amount of interest and showing requests. A significant number of multiple offers occurred, resulting in a sale that surpassed the $1.49 million list price. Each of these bidder was likely aware that, since January of 2020, the average detached house price in North Burnaby has increased by $283,456.

Multiple bids are being seen from West Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast to south of the Fraser River and in every property sector, from detached houses to condominium apartments. In Greater Vancouver during January, 53% of new listings sold, and the sales-to-listing ratio has surpassed 50% for the past seven months. There is little relief coming in new construction. As 2021 started, only 241 detached houses and 230 townhouses had started construction across all of Metro Vancouver, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. data. Of the total 1,628 new apartment starts, 28% were rentals and many of the remaining condo apartments had been pre-sold months earlier.

What to expect for the 2021 housing market? More of the same. With mortgage interest rates at 100-year-lows and home prices rising an average of nearly $8,000 per month, buyers and investors have awoken to an unprecedented buying opportunity.

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