Vancouver Home Sales Surges 53.4% Setting New Record for December

The real estate market in Vancouver ended 2020 with a spike, as the wave of home buying in December helped the market recover from a weak 2019, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said: Home sales increased 53.4% ​​in the final month of 2020 compared to December last year. There were 3,093 homes sold in December, up from 2,016 in December 2019.

General house prices in Vancouver ended the year at $1,047,400, up 5.4% from the same period last year.

Board chairwoman Colette Gerber said the COVID-19 pandemic brought the housing market to a “near standstill” in March, but demand for housing returned through summer, fall and winter–intensified by low-interest rates.

In Vancouver, Gerber also pointed to the pandemic’s effect on “shifting housing needs,” as more buyers have searched for stand-alone homes outside downtown amid more widespread stay-at-home and work-from-home mandates.

Across the metro area, Bowen Island, the Sunshine Coast, and Tsawwassen saw the biggest one-month jump in composite home prices in December. Nearby Fraser Valley Real Estate Board said on Tuesday that December 2020 home sales were 81.2 percent above normal for the month in the region surrounding Surrey, B.C.

Heading into 2021, the number of homes listed for sale in Vancouver was down 0.8 percent in December compared with December 2019 — and down 23.2 percent from November. That put the sales-to-active listings ratio — a closely watched measure in the real estate market — at 36.2 percent in December.

The real estate board said that a sales-to-active-listings ratio above 20 percent over a sustained period will push home prices higher.

Gerber said that going forward, “the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends.”

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