Metro Vancouver home sales set new record in December with 53% spike

Jan 6 2021, 10:06 am

Home sales in Metro Vancouver saw a major climax in 2020, with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reporting that sales volumes in December were 53.4% higher than the same month in 2019.

With 3,093 sales over the course of December, this was a new record for the month with sales 57.7% above the 10-year average for the period, but it was only a marginal increase from the 3,064 units sold in November.

“Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate. This was part of an unusual seasonal pattern the market followed last year, which can be attributed in large part to the pandemic,” said REBGV chair Colette Gerber in a statement.

Throughout 2020, a total of 30,944 homes were sold within REBGV jurisdiction — a figure that is 22% higher than the 25,351 homes sold in 2019 and 25.7% greater than the 24,619 homes sold in 2018. The strong activity in December, even with the impacts of COVID-19, brought 2020 home sales in line with the region’s long-term annual average.

December also saw 2,409 homes newly listed for sale in December, representing a 51.7% increase from the 1,588 homes listed in the same month in 2019 and a 40.8% decrease from the 4,068 homes listed in the previous month.

Total home listings in the region reached 54,305 units in 2020, which is a 4.6% increase compared to the 51,918 homes listed in 2019, and a 1.3% increase compared to the 53,614 homes listed in 2018.

Currently, there are 8,538 homes listed for sale under REBGV’s jurisdiction — a 0.8% decrease compared to the 8,603 units in December 2019 and a 23.2% decrease compared to the 11,118 units in November 2020.

“When the pandemic began in March, the housing market came to a near standstill. We knew, however, that shelter needs don’t go away in times of crisis. They intensify,” continued Gerber.

“After adapting to the COVID-19 environment, local home buyer demand and seller supply returned at a steady pace throughout the summer, fall and winter seasons. Shifting housing needs and low-interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020. Looking ahead, the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”

The sales-to-active-listings ratio for the month was 36.2%, including 35.2% for single-family homes, 33.1% for apartments, and 50.4% for townhomes. Downward pressure on home prices typically occurs when the ratio dips below 12% for a sustained period. Prices see an upward trend when it surpasses 20% over several months.

The benchmark price for all residential properties in REBGV at the end of 2020 was $1.046 million — a 5.4% increase compared to the same month in 2019, with single-family homes up by 10.2%, apartments up by 2.6%, and townhomes up by 4.9%.

REBGV’s jurisdiction covers only parts of Metro Vancouver and the South Coast, entailing Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Richmond, South Delta, Squamish, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver, West Vancouver, and Whistler.

This does not include Metro Vancouver jurisdictions such as Surrey, North Delta, White Rock, and Langley, which are under the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB). Similar trends were experienced under FVREB.

December 2020 home sales statistics

  • Detached homes
    • Number of units sold: 1,026 (+71.3% over December 2019)
    • Active listings: 2,913
    • Benchmark price: $1,554,600 (+10.2% over December 2019; +1.0% over November 2020)
    • Average days on market: 50
  • Apartment homes
    • Number of units sold: 1,474 (+40% over December 2019)
    • Active listings: 4,449
    • Benchmark price: $676,500 (+2.6% over December 2019; 0% over November 2020)
    • Average days on market: 40
  • Townhouse sales
    • Number of units sold: 593 (+62.9% over December 2019)
    • Active listings: 1,176
    • Benchmark price: $813,900 (+4.9% over December 2019; -0.1% over November 2020)
    • Average days on market: 32