Vancouver Housing Market Update and Forecast
The home buying fervor sweeping the nation is pushing home prices up in all major Canadian cities and pushing outward to smaller municipalities. The growth is due to the desire for more space, work from home functionality, low mortgage rates, and from millennial aged buyers starting families.
With Covid 19 lockdown and road checks in place, it will be tough for homeowners to list and show their property so we can expect May’s sales stats to be subdued just as April’s were. This could be an opportunity for buyers using online buying tools and digital strategies. See the latest Vancouver housing prices and stats below.
First time buyers are seeing the continued rise in prices, and despite more listings, they’re being priced out of the market.
Some suggest the demand will weaken, but that’s not likely as supply has been constrained, with labor and building materials and land costs rising. More Vancouverites are selling their homes, but it isn’t enough to stop the relentless rise in price. Decades of NIMBY anti-development activity has resulted in reduced supply, and the end of the price rise is not in sight.
BC and Federal Governments have announced little in the way of additional support for construction and housing development. They’ll respond weakly with phoney speculation taxes to try to kill demand, but it won’t work. Speculation money could be used to build new housing including affordable rental housing. The forecast for the Vancouver real estate market just as with the Toronto real estate market is higher prices and that includes rising prices for apartments and condos.
Those who have been lying in wait, holding off on selling are releasing their homes on the market. They’re getting out while prices are lofty and not waiting for any kind of housing crash scenario to ruin their happy day. But as immigration and international students rush back to the World’s best city, more pressure will hit the market. There are still some daredevil sellers waiting to get the absolute maximum price and that creates lower supply too.
April 2021 Sales and Price Statistics
Home sales in the Greater Vancouver region decreased slightly in April, down 14.2% vs March. Year over year, sales are up a steep 342.6 to 4,908 homes in April 2021. Average home prices increased 2.6% in April to $1,152,600, which is also 12% higher than last April, 2020.
In March, homeowners, relieved by vaccinations and the improving trends on Covid infections started putting their homes up for sale. It was a strong month and started creating the supply the market needs.
Vancouver Real Estate Prices Not Cooling Off
Some are suggesting the Vancouver real estate market is cooling off, however the 3rd Covid wave and shutdown is suppressing homes being listed, shown and sold and we saw 4.2% fewer homes for sale in April vs March 2021.
With immigration and foreign buyers returning later in the year, and as the Canadian economy returns finally from the year long shutdown, demand will reinflate the Vancouver housing market. The forecast has to be for much higher prices since even with a blistering construction delivery pace, supply will not be sufficient.
Demand in Whistler and Squamish are out of control, as pandemic evading urban dwellers race to buy a large home in rural areas. Shutdowns in Whistler, will likely show subdued sales and prices in April. Please bookmark this page, as April’s results will be available soon.
“Today’s activity can be attributed, in part, to an economy that’s showing signs of recovery, historically low interest rates, high demand for space, and increased household savings,” said Taylor Biggar, REBGV Chair.
April Home Sales & Prices
The year over year growth numbers in sales and prices are ridiculously high, but then April 2020 was a terrible month crushed by the Covid 19 outbreak. But even this month the resurgence of the new variant in BC and across Canada is bound to unnerve some buyers. With lockdowns in place, it’s difficult for buyers to aggressively compete for homes and condos.
Across the Greater Vancouver region, residential home sales reached 4,908 units in April 2021, a slight drop of 14% from March 2021. This amazing sale total via the Vancouver MLS was up 342.6% from 1109 homes sold in April 2020.
7,938 detached, attached and apartment homes were put up for sale on the Metro Vancouver MLS network. This was a a record number and a big rise of 243% more than the 2,313 homes listed in April 2020. It was still a drop of 4.2% from March 2021. 4.2 per cent decrease compared to March 2021 when 8,287 homes were listed. 10,245 homes are currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver. This is a 9.1% growth from April of last year, and it is a 12% rise from the previous month which has 9,145 homes for sale. Active listings are still 11.2% lower than the 10-year April average.
Currently, there 9,145 resale homes for sale which is down 4.8% compared to March 2020 (9,606) yet is still up 9.4 compared the previous month (8,358). Surprisingly, this is still 18.6% below the 10-year March total listings average. These stats show supply of homes is never up for long, and in the summer months ahead more buyers will be deciding on the purchase decision.
“While homes are now being listed at record levels, more supply is needed to meet today’s
demand and help market conditions achieve greater balance,” Keith Stewart, REBGV’s economist
Sales of detached homes in greater Vancouver during April 2021 reached 1,655 houses, which is an eye popping 326.5% over the 388 detached house sales that happened in April 2020. The benchmark price for a Vancouver area detached house is up 20.9% to $1,755,500. That is a 3.2% rise versus March 2021.
During April, sales of apartments rose 1.9% from March to 2,289 units in April 2021. This is 355% rise versus April 2020. The new average price of an apartment is $729,600. This is only up 5.9T from April of last year.
964 attached homes were sold in April 2021, which is up 342% year over year. The April average price of an attached home across Vancouver region is $900,900. This represents a 13.9% increase from April 2020 and a 3.3% rise from the previous month.
An Angus Reid Institute survey showed that 28% of Vancouver buyers felt miserable about the housing market but this is below how buyers in Calgary, Edmonton and Halifax felt. It could be Vancouver buyers operate in their own world of expectations since clearly, prices, affordability and availability are much worse.
REBGV MLS market covers the communities of Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, South Delta, Squamish, the Sunshine Coast, and Whistler.
The cities of Surrey, Abbotsford, Langley and North Delta are in thh Fraser Valley Real Estate Board. In that region, Single Family Detached home prices rose 6.4% to a median of $1,237,900 compared to February 2021, that is up 25.3% compared to March 2020. Townhomes in the Fraser Valley reached a median of $624,500 which 4.0% more than the previous month and up 13.7% compared to March 2020. All told, this would make these small cities a desirable place for Vancouver region buyers to move to.
About half of Canadian hope for price rises while others home for house prices to fall.
Home sellers in Vancouver are certain they will get their price, another signal of higher prices in the year ahead.
As long as the BC economy and Canadian economy hold up, there is litte to make us believe demand will ease. Many millennials for instance are getting married and feeling the pressure of having kids and creating a home. If the Fed decides to raise interest rates, it could lead to destabilization and a crash.
Trudeau’s government is likely to take a wait and see approach as the US is doing and to hold off on interest rate raises.
Home Price Comparison 1 month to 5 Years
Vancouver’s jump and in sales and price is a welcome event for sellers who may be considering a move to less densely populated regions of the province or even out of province.
Vancouver Real Estate Agents
Vancouver is an unusual real estate market which only the local Realtors fully understand. Homeowners here may see fewer options for moving or relocating and could hold onto their homes indefinitely. Only higher taxes, cost of living and lower quality of life might encourage them to put their home or apartment up for sale.
Those bad old memories of so few houses for sale and the wicked price rises when buyers have the resource to big come back to mind. BC’s Covid 19 cases have been rising, but don’t look serious enough to warrant a shutdown. Still, buyers will be shy about committing to buying a house or condo if they’re on the borderline for affordability.
And in eastern BC in the Okanagan, home prices in Kelowna Vernon and Penticton were on the rise, despite falling inventory and sales.
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Vancouver Home Price Predictions 2021
Adding to good outlooks for the Vancouver housing market is the post-pandemic euphoria. It will be strong, and immigration will return as will foreign students returning to study in lower BC. Students will help fill up those condo vacancies in Richmond, Surrey, Burnaby, Kitsilano, Point Grey and other neighborhoods.
The resumption of International trade and with foreign students and investors returning will give Vancouver’s economy a big boost. We should remember how good things were back in 2015 before the US presidential change. Some Realtors are comparing 2021 to 2015.
Capital Economics’ Stephen Brown offers his home price forecast of a 3% rise in 2021 and 5% in 2022 which will be a an 8% from current prices. So far prices are rising fast which supports Brown’s housing forecast.
BCREA is its housing forecast is all onboard with a prediction of rising sales in 2021. Brendon Ogmundson, BCREA’s Chief Economist said in a recent release BC residential sales are forecast to grow 9.7% to 99,240 units in 2021.
However, he does believe pent-up demand from the pandemic will ease thus easing price pressure.
Central1’s Economic Outlook
Pessimists Point to Fiscal Problems that Suggest a Housing Crash
CMHC did boldly forecast a dour outlook for the next two years however they eventually retracted their prediction. That view had little support and sales stats in Vancouver, Okanagan, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Mississauga, York Region and the rest of the GTA continue to show big demand and rising prices.
Housing markets are so severely short of supply, it would take something very dramatic, like the pandemic to suppress sales. The pandemic in fact, is helping to accelerate sales that never would have happened (outflow from cities to suburbs and small towns).
Vancouver’s economy will certainly be challenged however with the positive outlook for vaccinations, we could see huge demand this summer as vaccinations grow.
The Canadian government just announced a $100 billion stimulus package beginning in 2021, which will give the BC an extra boost going forward. Oil, natural gas, metals, and forestry products should all increase in price which further supports a good outlook for the Province of British Columbia.
Vancouver is still a key port for Canadian exports, and as imports grow the Vancouver terminal should be busy in 2021.
BCREA Outlook for British Columbia
Unemployment up, home sales plummeting, and house prices falling across the province.
The low price oil will shatter real estate markets in Dallas, Denver and Calgary. Once the Saudis realize this, they may pull back on production. But for now, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal will enjoy the cheap oil, while Calgary and Alberta will not so much. Incidentally, Calgary and Edmonton may soon offer the best real estate bargains in North America ahead of even Texas and Colorado.
Cities covered under the jurisdiction of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Burnaby, Coquitlam, Vancouver, West Vancouver, Richmond, Whistler, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, South Delta, Squamish, and the Sunshine Coast. See housing prices for each city below. See also mls sales stats for Kelowna Vernon Penticton.
Here’s a great look at the recent history of home listings in the GVA
Home Sales Across BC
BCREA’s latest market report from May shows that a total of 4,518 residential home sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May 2020. That is down 45.2% from May of last year. Not too much of a surprise. The average MLS® residential price in BC in May was $728,898, 3.2% higher than the $706,394 recorded in May 2019. Total sales dollar volume in May was down 43.5% to $3.3 billion, compared to 2019.
New Home Construction
BC Economic Outlook
The pandemic, oil price shock, and more uncertainty about who will win the US Presidential election makes previous economic outlooks not very credible. However, for what it’s worth here is BC’s economic outlook for the next 2 years.
It’s disgraceful what’s happening in BC, that new housing isn’t being built. NIMBY’s are making life really difficult and the government’s anti-development policies will ensure ultra high real estate prices. If demand hits as the experts say it will, Vancouver could be in for another period of deep suffering in high rent to income, and more homelessness issues.
Buying in Vancouver? Keep your eye on the big picture and key economic events and see which neighborhoods are going to drop in price the most. West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Moody, North and Port Coquitlam, appear to be the most vulnerable.
Certainty is Returning to Markets
With the exit of President Trump, the clock is turned back to 2015. This time, China is in the driver’s seat as they haven’t been ravaged by Covid 19, the disease they launched. They’re off to a roaring start, but goods being imported into Canada and then sent to the US should help support Vancouver’s real estate market.
A return of tourists will have a dramatically positive economy impact. From downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park to the Airport, up to Squamish and Whistler, the resumption of visitors in will be great.
Just as in the Toronto real estate market, the condo market should be revived once Covid 19 is tamed. Yet demand for life in BC is so strong, even the new condo developments will see lots of offers in late 2021.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta. Burnaby, Squamish, and West Vancouver suffered the largest monthly drops in house prices.
Vancouver remains perhaps the most unaffordable city in North America based on home price vs income. And with new mortgage rules Vancouverites have found themselves not much better off. Ask any post secondary student about housing. However, it’s expected that new investment will pour into student hotel housing projects.
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REBGV is The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, a member-based association of more than 14,000 REALTORS® who live and work in the Vancouver region.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade Associations. It’s membership includes more than 125,000 real estate brokers, agents and salespeople, working through 90 real estate Boards and Associations across Canada.