vancouver-bc-housing-market Photo: Deb Rousseau/Unsplash

The average price of a BC home rose to $794,344 in August, up 2.1 percent over July, marking a new record high for the province’s housing market.

The rise in prices seen in the final month of the summer was paired with an eye-popping 9,878 home sales, a pace that Central 1 Credit Union Deputy Chief Economist Bryan Yu described as reminiscent of the market’s mid-2016 “hey-day.”

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In an economic briefing published late last week, Yu characterized the BC housing market as “well into sellers’ market territory” even with more listings hitting the market in August.

While the economist acknowledged that activity varied in intensity by region, all areas of the province saw home prices increase in August, with ground-oriented homes posting particularly strong gains.

Pent-up demand held over from the grindingly slow spring homebuying season was the obvious contributor to August’s strength, but Yu said there were other factors at play too.

“Short-term housing affordability has improved with 5-year rates tumbling below two percent,” wrote Yu.

“Sharp employment declines have disproportionately been felt by lower income earners, while others were in sectors unaffected by physical distancing requirements or could work from home. Many households were able to increase savings during the period,” he continued.

Reflecting the speed and scale of the summer recovery, BC home prices had risen 10 percent since the beginning of the year by the end of August. Even if market activity loses momentum through the fall, as Yu believes it will, sales are currently on pace to record an eight percent annual gain over 2019.

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