vancouver home sales Photo: Bon Bahar/Unsplash

The Vancouver housing market is on track for another strong performance in July as it continues to quickly shake off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic that caused home sales to crater through the spring.

There were 1,404 home sales in the Vancouver region as of July 15, according to the newly published mid-month report from Dexter Realty’s Managing Broker Kevin Skipworth.

This sales total is higher than the first 15 days of June when the Vancouver market’s recovery took off. It’s also up significantly from May, when only 686 homes sold during the same period.

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But even beyond the bounds of the pandemic, this performance marks a recovery for a housing market that had been struggling to reestablish its momentum after a few lethargic years.

According to Skipworth, the market is on track to beat sales totals recorded in both July 2019 and 2018. In an email sharing the mid-month sales data, he said July 2020 could even see the strongest sales performance recorded in any month in nearly three years.

Listings have also been on the rise since freezing up through the spring. The fact that many home sellers chose to remain on the sidelines alongside buyers through April and May helped sync up supply and demand and prevented any significant downward shift in prices. However, there’s now evidence that sales are increasing faster than supply, which will put upward pressure on prices.

Skipworth said that new listings have plateaued in July so far when compared to June levels, which is leading to multiple offer scenarios and increases in average prices in some areas of the Vancouver region, including North Vancouver, Richmond and Port Coquitlam.

He also speculated that first-time homebuyers are returning to the market in larger numbers, pointing to the increase seen in condo sales through the first half of July.

While the July activity numbers are encouraging, some market observers remain of the opinion that the surprisingly rapid resurgence the market has experienced will slow down in the coming months.

“Strength in the housing market remains surprising given a weak economy. We remain of the view that home sales will soften in coming months as temporary drivers retreat,” wrote Central 1 Credit Union Deputy Chief Economist Bryan Yu in a note published last week.

“Economic activity is unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels prior to 2022 and the recovery is likely to slow following an initial re-opening burst,” he added.

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