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Greater Vancouver home sales, prices up during COVID-19 pandemic

FILE - A real estate sign is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, June, 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS Jonathan Hayward
Summary

The buyers are coming back, in what's made for a strong July for home sales in the Vancouver area

Buyers purchased 3,128 homes in the Greater Vancouver area last month, up both from June and from July 2019

Home prices also rose in Vancouver, hitting a benchmark of $1,031,400 -- 4.5 per cent higher on a year-over-year basis

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The buyers are coming back, in what’s made for a strong July for home sales in the Vancouver area, defying predictions for price declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales are up significantly, and even prices for homes in Vancouver have climbed in comparison with this time last year.

Buyers purchased 3,128 homes in the Greater Vancouver area last month, up both from June of this year and July 2019, according to the real estate board for the area.

Sales in July were up 22.3 per cent from this time last year, and up 28 per cent from June, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Home prices also rose in Vancouver, hitting a benchmark of $1,031,400 — 4.5 per cent higher on a year-over-year basis.

Two local realtors say there are multiple reasons for the market’s resilience.

Pent-up demand and low interest rates are two, according to Keith Roy, with Remax Select.

“Basically, someone hit the pause button on the real-state market for two or three months and now it has gone back to where it was towards the middle of March, when everything shut down,” he said.

Interest rates in Canada range from 1.95 per cent to 2.15 for five years, variable. Fixed rates are only slightly higher.

Roy reasoned a low number of listings is another factor, as is the fact many who lost work due to the pandemic are less likely to be home-owners.

“The reality is that most of the job losses occurred in a segment of our society who aren’t homeowners in the Lower Mainland,” he added. “In large numbers, that’s just not happening.”

Aaron Jasper, with Royal Lepage, said COVID-19 has led customers to reimagine what they want in a home.

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“Maybe instead of just getting the smaller townhouse, maybe we should look at getting a detached home that allows me and my partner to both have an office space,” is one consideration, he said.

” ‘Let’s buy a slightly bigger place, if we can afford it.’ ”

He also said part of the rebound is due to people adjusting to and understanding health and safety restrictions.

“Everyone expects that the COVID restrictions are going to continue for quite some time and are settling in,” Jasper added.

While more homes hit the market in July compared to June, the total number of homes listed for sale (12,083) is down compared to last July (14,240).