vancouver-housing-market Photo: Julius Jansson / Unsplash

With 3,643 homes changing hands last month, the Vancouver housing market broke the all-time record for sales in September.

The total for September meant sales rose a remarkable 56.2 percent over the previous year and were 44.8 percent above the 10-year average for the month. Last month’s tally also firmly beat out August’s total by nearly 20 percent.

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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), which released the data on Friday, said that low interest rates and changing housing needs during the pandemic are the primary drivers of the increase in activity.

Notably absent from REBGV’s commentary on what’s driving the high flying market’s performance was mention of pent-up demand held over from the spring shutdown.

Kevin Skipworth, a partner at Dexter Realty in Vancouver, said pent-up demand appears to have run its course through the summer and market momentum is now being carried by other factors.

“It is safe to say we are well beyond COVID-19 pent up demand; this is a housing market that is carrying itself and there are many factors to consider in looking at what the future holds for it,” he wrote in an email.

New listings also rose significantly in September both when compared to the previous year and to listings brought to market in August, but the pace of sales has been so dizzying that prices continued to rise despite the substantial new supply available.

“While the pace of new MLS® listings entering the market is increasing, the heightened demand from home buyers is keeping overall supply levels down,” said REBGV Chair Colette Gerber. “This is creating upward pressure on home prices, which have been edging up since the spring.”

REBGV’s benchmark home price for all property types rose 5.8 percent over the previous year to $1,041,300. The benchmark price for detached homes was $1,507,500, up 7.8 percent over last September. Meantime, the benchmark price for condos was $683,500, up 4.5 percent from last year.

In keeping with recent trends observed in Vancouver and other major Canadian markets, condo sales volume was higher than detached homes, but the former recorded “only” a 36.9 percent year-over-year increase in sales, while the latter saw a 76.8 percent rise.

“Working at home and the desire for space has led to some owners wanting to make a move outside the downtown core, but the number of [condo] transactions have increased since the spring,” said Skipworth.

“Buyers are still active and taking advantage of an increase in choice. Market cycles do happen, and a shift to detached homes is one of them, especially in light of price declines in recent years in the detached market,” he added.

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