Metro Vancouver Housing Update December 2020

With an unprecedented year now behind us, Metro Vancouver’s housing market appears to have adapted to the changes necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) shows our local housing market in line with the area’s long-term annual average. The REBGV is reporting 30,944 total home sales in 2020, a 22.1% increase from 2019. There were 54,305 home listings in Metro Vancouver in 2020, a 4.6% increase compared to 2019. 

“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,” according to Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair. “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.” 

December’s Housing Market at a Glance

Last month, residential home sales in Metro Vancouver totalled 3,093, a 53.4% increase from December 2019 and a 0.9% decrease from November 2020.

There were 2,409 homes newly listed on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) system in Metro Vancouver in December 2020. This number represents a 51.7% increase compared to December 2019 but a 40.8% decrease compared to November 2020’s 4,068 homes listed.

There are now 8,538 homes listed on Metro Vancouver’s MLS® system, a 0.8% increase compared to December 2019 and a 23.2% decrease compared to November 2020.

“Shifting housing needs and low-interest rates were key drivers of this activity in 2020,” said Gerber. “Looking ahead, the supply of homes for sale will be a critical factor in determining home price trends in 2021.”

December’s sales-to-active-listings ratio for all property types is 36.2%. By property type, the ratio is 35.2% for detached homes, 50.4% for townhomes, and 33.1% for apartment homes. 

Analysts generally expect home prices to dip when the ratio falls below 12% for a sustained period. Home prices often rise when the sales-to-active-listings ratio goes above 20% over several months. As demand outpaces supply, home prices go up. As demand for properties of all sizes increases, prices continue to climb. 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver ended 2020 at $1,047,400. This price represents a 5.4% increase compared to the previous year

Metro Vancouver Home Sales by Property Type 

There were 1,026 sales of detached homes in December 2020, a 71.3% increase over the previous year. The current benchmark price for a detached house is $1,554,600. This price represents a 10.2% increase from December 2019 and a 1% increase compared to November 2020. 

Attached home sales in December 2020 totalled 593, a 62.9% increase compared to December 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home (or townhome) is now $813,900. This price represents a 4.9% increase over last year and a 0.1% decrease compared to November 2020. 

Finally, there were 1,474 condo sales in December 2020, a 40% increase compared to December 2019. An apartment home’s benchmark price remains $676,500, the same price as in November 2020 and a 2.6% increase from December 2019. 

As these numbers reveal, December 2020’s sales volume marked a departure from typical seasonal sales patterns.  “Robust December sales outpaced long-term averages in what’s traditionally the quietest month of the year in real estate,” finished Gerber.  

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