bc home prices Photo: Chloe Evans / Unsplash

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for the BC housing market and the situation promises to keep both buyers and sellers on their toes for months to come.

After the housing market froze up through the spring, activity bounced back and then some, with sales in the summer and early fall more than making up for the earlier downturn.

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Sales are moving so fast that Central 1 Credit Union Deputy Chief Economist Bryan Yu wrote recently that new listings are being outpaced and the lack of inventory is leading to “blowout gains in home prices.”

In a recent research note, Yu said that the average home price across the province rose 13.5 percent to $816,843 in September. And, with low interest rates pushing buyers to act and listings on the decline since August, the economist believes further price increases are on the way.

Beyond pent-up demand from the mostly non-existent spring buying season and the low mortgage rate environment, Yu said that significant changes in buyer behaviour are driving what he called “staggeringly strong” home sales activity levels.

“The pandemic has severely restricted recreational activity and travel, while normalizing work-from-home,” wrote Yu.

“These additional savings, and demand for space have lifted sales for larger ground-oriented units, while some households have also chosen to relocate to suburban markets and smaller urban areas due to remote employment,” he continued.

The Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions were flagged as seeing the largest declines in new listings from August to September. Vancouver Island, Fraser Valley and central Okanagan were identified as having the tightest markets overall.

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