Vancouver

Over 930 Greater Vancouver Homes Sold During A State of Emergency

Greater Vancouver real estate buyers didn’t yield to warnings of pandemic. Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) data shows a big climb in real estate sales for March. Despite warnings of a public health emergency, buyers still jumped into the market. It wasn’t until the province declared a state of emergency did buyers slow. Even then, almost a thousand people still thought it was a good time to buy.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Prices Actually Increased

Warnings in February didn’t give Greater Vancouver buyers much of a pause. REBGV reported the benchmark, or typical price of a home, reached $1,033,700 in March, up 2.1% from last year. In the City, Vancouver East reached $1,096,500, up 2.7% from last year. Pricey Vancouver West climbed to $1,296,200, up 3.4% from last year. Considering the WHO declared a pandemic on March 11, it’s odd to see buyers pay more into the month.

Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price

The price of a typical home across Greater Vancouver, in Canadian dollars.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

The increase in prices marks an acceleration and highest growth in a couple of years. The 2.1% increase in March is only the second positive number reached since November 2018. This is also the highest growth since September 2018. The price of a typical home is still down 6.43% from the peak reached in June 2018.

Greater Vancouver Composite Benchmark Price Change

The annual percent change of a typical home across Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Sales Were Booming… Until They Weren’t

Greater Vancouver real estate sales made a big climb from last year, even with the pandemic slow down. REBGV reported 2,524 sales in March, up 17.4% from a month before. This represents an increase of 46.1%, when compared to the same month last year. Last year was unusually slow however, and this past March still came in 19.9% below the 10-year average for the month. Part of this is due to the last 10 business days of the month, which only saw 930 sales. Just to drive this home – 930 people bought a Greater Vancouver home, while BC was in a state of emergency.

Greater Vancouver Composite Sales Vs. Listings

The number of homes sold vs total inventory in Greater Vancouver.

Source: REBGV, Better Dwelling.

Greater Vancouver Real Estate Inventory Drops

Greater Vancouver real estate inventory declined for obvious reasons. REBGV reported 4,436 new listings in March, up 10.8% from a month before. This represents a 10.4% decline compared to the same month last year. Since few people list their home in a state of emergency, the decline should be expected.

The big bump in sales and decline in new listings helped to wear down total inventory. REBGV reported 9,606 active listings in March, up 4.5% from the month before. This represents a decline of 24.8% compared to the same month last year. Despite the decline and unusual setup for the month, this number is still higher than that seen in 2016 and 2017 – during the inventory squeeze.

Pandemic buyers were strangely enthusiastic, even paying more for homes. The warnings of pandemic, and even the declaration of pandemic didn’t slow buyers. The province issuing a state of emergency stopped some activity. However, even in those conditions, almost a thousand people still thought it was a great time to buy.

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15 Comments

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  • Reply
    Taryn 2 months ago

    Beautiful case of moral hazard. Buyers have been bailed out so many times, they think the government can save them from anything. Short memories.

  • Reply
    Matt 2 months ago

    On what planet can this sustain itself? If a pandemic can’t cool an already grossly inflated real estate market in the Lower Mainland, what will? As millions become unemployed and cash flow grinds to a halt, many renters can’t pay rent and many landlords can’t pay mortgages.. so how could prices continue to appreciate or who would think that buying a house or condo is a sound investment at a time like this? Is it largely just a continued influx of foreign buyers and laundered money? Is it ignorance to the true depth and severity of the economic downturn upon us? Somebody please enlighten me…

    • Reply
      Brad 2 months ago

      “who would think that buying a house or condo is a sound investment at a time like this” … if you’re talking about landlords that’s one thing, but for the average person buying a house should be for shelter and it’s an absolute horrible investment in comparison to the equities market throughout the entirety of modern history.

    • Reply
      Chad 2 months ago

      Exactly! Still trying to figure it out. Maybe some of those buyers just don’t take it seriously. After TVO’s documentary I’d actually lean towards laundered money though, trying to get it cleaned up before big time economic trading gets messy.

    • Reply
      Henry 2 months ago

      This old link is the right way to read real estate board news (a.k.a. sales pitch) https://www.mortgagesandbox.com/news/2018221/how-to-read-real-estate-news
      In VanRE, there is a different between contracted date and reported date. The difference can be 12 days. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NH6050tNa3E&t=15s [3 min] videos

    • Reply
      Keith 2 months ago

      “Is it largely just a continued influx of foreign buyers and laundered money?”

      Nailed it.

  • Reply
    Charles 2 months ago

    I enjoy Better Dwelling but it does seem you have a bias towards superlatives in your coverage. Especially it seems you have a buy-side bias to encourage people to believe the market is booming when the opposite is true.

    • Reply
      Jason Li 2 months ago

      I enjoy how people think they’re objective in their interpretation when reading something.

      “The province issuing a state of emergency stopped some activity. However, even in those conditions, almost a thousand people still thought it was a great time to buy.”

      This reads (to me) like the author thinks a thousand people are idiots.

      Everyone goes through their complaint phase where they think their too bearish, or too bullish. When half of people think it’s too bullish, and half of people think it’s too bearish – it’s right on point.

    • Reply
      Brad 2 months ago

      Better Dwelling is bullish? Are you kidding me? This is quite literally one of the most bearish sites online and has been calling a housing crash monthly for years and years now

  • Reply
    GD 2 months ago

    RBC predicts a 30% drop,and that’s a bank.
    Maybe BD should be warning its followers not to buy in this climate,and posting information related to that.after all it is called better dwelling.

  • Reply
    Jeff Carnahan 2 months ago

    BC declared a state of emergency March 18, 2020.
    Only 327 people have written contracts that were been reported as sales since that date (rolling through into April).

    Of the 945 sales that were reported in March as conditions waived on or after March 18th, a full 798 of them were initiated (contracts signed) BEFORE March 18th. That means only 147 sales in the same period that you’re reporting above actually initiated in March.

    Make no mistake about it, buyer confidence has ERODED in Greater Vancouver. If you’d like access to the data I’m using for this analysis please join the Not An Agent Facebook Group, you’ll find me.

    • Reply
      Yusef 2 months ago

      930 people still waived conditions, which means it’s still a dumb money market.

  • Reply
    Simon 2 months ago

    I bought house in March. I still need a place to live in the Lower mainland and buying is a long term investment.

    Waiting one more year my income would have dropped due to less work meaning mortgage qualification would have been lower in 2021.
    If people where buying for an investment reasons. Parking your money into Canadian property for a few years is smart. Rather than risking the stock market / bonds or bank account. Note. I purchased a place to live in and not for financial gain.

    • Reply
      KL 2 months ago

      Is this a troll comment, or do you seriously not see the problem with your comment?

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