Lower Mainland home sales, prices, surge in November

Sales were up 22% in the Greater Vancouver region, and up 54.7% in the Fraser Valley, compared with November 2019

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A Vancouver condominium tower is under construction at the corner of Hornby Street and Pacific Boulevard | Glen Korstrom

The COVID-19 pandemic has not kept consumers from buying new homes, as demand spurred increased activity, pushing prices skyward.

In Greater Vancouver, home sales in November were up 22.7%, compared with the same month in 2019, to 3,064 transactions. This is the first time since 2015 that November home sales in the region have topped the 3,000 threshold. 

The increase in the number of homes sold in the Fraser Valley rose at an even brisker pace, with November sales rising to 2,173 – up 54.7% compared with the same month in 2019. 

Buyers showed a willingness to pay more for the homes they were buying, as the benchmark price in November for all home types in the Greater Vancouver region rose to $1,044,000, or 5.8% more than it was a year ago.

To break those purchases down by type, the benchmark detached-home price in Greater Vancouver rose 9.4% year-over-year, to $1,538,900, while the benchmark apartment, or condominium, price rose 3.4% year-over-year, to $676,500. Finally, the benchmark price for attached homes rose 5.6% year-over-year, to $814,000.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) pinned the year-over-year rise in the average price for all property types at just over 23% in November. That rise was likely in part prompted by more sales for more expensive properties, as that rise was not seen within any property class. 

Each residential real estate class in that region, however, saw an uptick in value. The average price for a single-family home rose year-over-year by 11.5%, to $1,061,500, while the average price for townhomes rose 5.8% year-over-year, to $570,100, and the average price for apartments rose by 4.6% year-over-year, to $435,900. Note that these are average prices, and not benchmark prices, so the data could be affected by more luxury homes selling. 

“We’re running out of superlatives," FVREB president Chris Shields said. "We expected November activity to moderate due to the season, but the desire for family-sized homes and their benefits continues to dominate. Since the summer, we’ve seen the strongest demand in our board’s 99-year history, specifically for single-family detached and townhomes."

Sales were up for each individual real estate class in the two regions as well. 

In Greater Vancouver, buyers snapped up 1,061 detached homes, or 28.6% more than they did in November, 2019. For apartment or condominium sales, buyers in Greater Vancouver bought 12.2% more homes than they did in November 2019. Attached home sales saw the largest bump, as they were up 40.1%, to 632 properties, compared with the 451 homes that transacted in November 2019. 

“Home buyer demand has been at near record levels in our region since the summer,” said REBGV chairwoman Colette Gerber.  She added that this is putting upward pressure on home prices, particularly for detached and townhome properties.

"The supply of homes for sale are a critical factor in understanding home price trends," Gerber said. "The total number of homes for sale in Metro Vancouver is lagging behind the pace of demand right now. This trend favours home sellers in today's market."