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Multi-family rental sales shatter records in Metro Vancouver

Sale volume hit $1.64 billion in the first six months, 235 per cent higher a year earlier and 14 per cent above the all-time record set in pre-pandemic 2018
1155 Beach Ave  copy
Beach Avenue rental tower with 151 units sold for $91 million on July 9. | Avison Young

Ongoing evidence of the strength of the Metro Vancouver multi-family market arrived July 9 with the sale of a 52-year old concrete tower on Vancouver’s English Bay at more than $600,000 per rental suite.

The 21-storey, 151-unit tower at 1155 Beach Avenue sold for $91 million, marking it as one biggest single-building multi-family sale in the city so far this year. The tower had been assessed at $85.1 million by the BC Assessment Authority.

While real estate investment trusts and other institutional buyers are active in the Vancouver market, 1155 Beach was sold to a “local, private investor,” said Chris Wieser, principal of Avison Young, which acted for the purchaser in the transaction.

The July sale continues the record-shattering multi-family transactions seen through the first half of 2021, according to Mark Goodman, a partner, with Cynthia Jagger, in Goodman Commercial Inc., Vancouver, which has just released the mid-2021 Goodman Report.

“Metro Vancouver has just experienced the highest total sales volume recorded during the first six months of any year since 2006, the year we first began publishing our mid-year Goodman Report,” Goodman said.

At $1.64 billion in total sales, mid-year 2021 transactions were an eye-popping 235 per cent higher than the same period last year and 14 per cent higher than the previous high in 2018, he noted.

First-half sales were 45 per cent higher than the entire 2020 annual total and appear on pace to hit the third-highest annual sales volume ever recorded. (The record annual total in Metro Vancouver was $2.98 billion, set in 2018.)

The City of Vancouver accounted for 69 per cent of the total transactions in the first half of 2021, contributing to 67 per cent of the total sales volume. Within Vancouver, the West End experienced the largest number of transactions, representing 32 per cent of the total Vancouver sales, followed by Marpole and East Vancouver at 20 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively, Goodman reported.

In the suburban markets, 29 buildings traded hands, representing nearly 1,049 suites sold and $535 million in total volume. With just four sales in West Vancouver, the $179.3 million worth of sales represents 34 per cent of the total suburban dollar volume. The sale of 2222 Bellevue was one of two buildings in West Vancouver that sold for more than $100 million this year.


Vancouver Island multi-family rental building sales have also been very active throughout the first half of 2021, according to CBRE’s mid-year report on the B.C. multi-family market.]

There were 23 rental building sales in Greater Victoria with a total value of $376.7 million, and six sales in Nanaimo with a total sale value of $55.5.million,

“ Greater Victoria has pushed over $300,000 per door and Nanaimo has pushed over $200,000 per door, both of which are higher when compared to last year,” according to CBRE’s national apartment group, Vancouver.