Metro housing sales fall to 38-year low but prices increase

COVID-19 crashed home sales by up to 50 per cent in April but benchmark prices increased across the Lower Mainland compared to a year earlier, with the gains seen in detached and strata properties

Western Investor
May 4, 2020

- Western Investor
— Sales down, prices up.

Housing sales across the Lower Mainland fell sharply in April, the first full month since the COVID-19 crisis hit, but benchmark prices increased in both Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley from a year earlier.

Metro Vancouver home sales in April were the lowest total for the month since 1982, according to new data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV)

Yet the April benchmark price for all Greater Vancouver homes was $1,036,000, 2.5 per cent higher than it was one year earlier and up 0.2 per cent from March. 

“Predictably, the number of home sales and listings declined in April given the physical distancing measures in place,” Colette Gerber, REBGV’s president-elect said. “People are, however, adapting.”

Sales in the Fraser Valley were down 50 per cent from a year earlier to a level last seen 38 years ago.

According to Gerber, adaptation is coming in the form of “using different technology to showcase homes virtually, assess neighbourhood amenities with their clients and handle paperwork electronically.”

Across the REBGV region, 1,109 homes changed hands last month. This is a 39.4 per cent drop year-over-year and a 56.1 per cent decline compared with March 2020.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 688 sales in April, a decrease of 52 per cent compared to March and down 50 per cent compared to April of last year, to a level last seen in April of 1983. They were also 63 per cent lower than the 10-year sales average for the month - a direct result, said the board, of social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Home prices have held relatively steady in our region since the COVID-19 situation worsened in March,” Gerber said.

A total of 388 detached homes sold in April in Greater Vancouver, 33.8 per cent lower than the 586 houses sold in April 2019. The benchmark price for detached houses is $1,462,100 - up 2.3 per cent year-over-year.

In April 2020, 503 apartments were sold, which is 43.2 per cent lower than the 885 sold in the same month last year. The benchmark price for apartments is $685,500, up 2.7 per cent from April 2019. 

For attached homes, sales reached 218 - a 39.1 per cent decline year-over-year. The benchmark price was $796,800 - up 2.8 per cent compared with the same month last year.

In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark detached house price in April was $993,400, up 0.5 per cent compared to March and 3 per cent higher than in April 2019, while townhouse prices advanced 1.9 per cent, year-over-year, and condominium prices were up a slim 0.8 per cent from April of last year.


Frank O'Brien is the editor of Western Canada's biggest commercial real estate newspaper, Western Investor, as well as a contributing editor at West Coast Condominium, real estate contributor to Business in Vancouver and a regular media commentator on real estate investment.
Copyright © Western Investor

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