Vancouver homebuyers continue to snub the skeptics

Metro housing sales set another record level in October, despite dire predictions from big banks, analysts and government

By
Western Investor
November 3, 2020





Metro Vancouver home sales shattering records. | Western Investor file
— Metro Vancouver home sales shattering records. | Western Investor file

October Metro Vancouver housing sales soared 29 per cent from the same month a year earlier to the second-highest October sales level in history and prices jumped 6 per cent year-over-year, defying consistent and credible predictions of a pandemic-induced collapse.

On October 29, analysts from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), the biggest mortgage lender in the country, warned that a decline in immigration would “upend” Vancouver’s housing market.

The condominium market is especially exposed, the report cautioned.

“COVID-19 has severely disrupted the flow of immigrants moving to Canada — a major source of [Metro Vancouver] housing demand,” senior RBC economist Robert Hogue stated in his report.

A month earlier, Moody’s Analytics forecast a sharp downturn in Vancouver-area housing sales in the third quarter, forecasting that average home prices would plunge by 7 per cent before a tepid recovery in 2021.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., the federal housing agency, has been predicting a downturn in the Metro Vancouver housing market since May. Its summer outlook doubled down, predicting the “[Metro Vancouver] resale market sales will contract and remain low for the balance of 2020 and begin to recover in 2021.”

Despite these predictions, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential home sales in the region totalled 3,687 in October 2020, a 29 per cent increase from October 2019, and a 1.2 per cent increase from September 2020. Last month’s sales were 34.7 per cent above the 10-year October sales average and the second highest on record for the month.

The October composite benchmark price for homes in Metro Vancouver is currently $1.04 million, up 6 per cent from a year earlier and a 0.4 per cent higher than in September 2020.

“With demand on the rise, homes priced right for today’s market are, at times, garnering multiple offers," noted REBGV president Collette Gerber.

Sales of detached homes in October soared 42.3 per cent compared to October 2019. The benchmark price for a detached house is now $1.52 million. This represents an 8.5 per cent increase from October 2019 and a 1.1 per cent increase compared to September 2020.

Townhouse sales in October totalled 782, a 45.9 per cent increase compared to October 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $813,000, a 5.4 per cent increase from October 2019 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to September 2020.

Sales of condominium apartments reached 1,570 in October, a 13.4 per cent increase compared to October 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment property is up 4.4 per cent from a year ago to $683,500, according to real estate board data.


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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