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Metro Vancouver home sales, prices hit record high in 2021

Despite ongoing pandemic, region saw 43,999 residential real estate transactions – up 42.2 per cent from 2020
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Benchmark townhouse price in Metro Vancouver is up 22 per cent to just over $1 million. | Chung Chow

Residential real estate transactions in 2021 surged across the Metro Vancouver region to an all-time high of 43,999, which was 42.2 per cent more than the 30,944 sales recorded in 2020, and a 73.6 per cent increase compared to the 25,351 homes that changed hands in 2019, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

Home prices also hit record highs, with the typical townhouse price cresting over $1 million for the first time.

The previous record for home sales in the region was 42,326, in 2015 – before governments put in place empty homes taxes and foreign buyers' taxes.

Home has been a focus for residents throughout the pandemic," REBGV economist Keith Stewart said. "With low interest rates, increased household savings, more flexible work arrangements, and higher home prices than ever before, Metro Vancouverites, in record numbers, are assessing their housing needs and options.”

Listings increased, but to a lesser degree than sales. 

Home listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) platform in Metro Vancouver reached 62,265 in 2021, which is 14.7 per cent more than the 54,305 homes listed in 2020, and a 19.9 per cent increase compared to the 51,918 homes listed in 2019.

"Listing activity didn't keep pace with the record demand," Stewart added. "This imbalance caused residential home prices to rise over the past 12 months."

The benchmark price for a detached home in the region is $1,910,200, which is a 22 per cent jump from December 2020, and a 2.1 per cent increase compared to November 2021.

Attached homes (mostly townhomes) increased in value to a similar degree, with those dwellings also increasing in price by 22 per cent, compared with December 2020, to $1,004,900. Attached homes increased in price by 1.5 per cent compared with November 2021.

Apartments saw a smaller 12.8 per cent jump in value, compared with December 2020, and ended the year priced at $761,800. Those homes saw an average 1.2 per cent price increase, compared with November 2021.
Despite strong home sales throughout 2021, the year ended with a bit of a thud. The region saw 2,688 home sales in December, which was 13.1 per cent below the level in the same month in 2020, and a 21.6 per cent decline from the level achieved in December 2019. 

December home sales in Metro Vancouver were, however, strong enough to be 33.4 per cent above the 10-year average for sales in a December.