vancouver home sales Photo: James Bombales

Buyers are still active in the Vancouver housing market in November despite surging COVID-19 cases and new guidance from the region’s real estate board cautioning against conducting open houses.

As of November 15th, there were 1,505 home sales across the Vancouver region, up 20 percent compared to the first half of November 2019.

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The mid-month data, shared earlier this week by Vancouver broker Kevin Skipworth of Dexter Realty, showed that the region was on track to see the highest number of sales recorded in November since 2015.

“The race to 3,000 sales in the month of November is on, which would be the fifth straight month with the number of sales in Greater Vancouver being above 3,000, after going 32 months below that number,” Skipworth wrote in his monthly email sharing the figures.

He acknowledged that the 1,505 sales are below the figure achieved by mid-October, marking a cooling in the market from its red hot pace through the summer and early fall. That said, Skipworth noted that this decline happens every year and the rate of sales is still above the 10-year average.

Beyond sales, new and active listings are an important area to focus on when it comes to how market conditions will evolve moving into 2021.

There were 2,211 homes that hit the market by mid-November, down from 3,060 at the same point in October. Active listings have also declined by more than 1,000 units since the end of September.

Skipworth believes the question for the remainder of 2020 is, ‘How low will active listings fall in the Vancouver region?’

“Quite likely it will be below 9,000. And that’s not enough available properties when so many are looking at changing where they want to live or get into the market,” he wrote.

The takeaway from Skipworth is don’t expect people’s desire to move to change anytime soon. With shifting homebuyer preferences due to the pandemic, combined with rock bottom interest rates and increased savings from those who haven’t lost income over the last nine months, buyer demand is unlikely to wane in the coming year.

Meantime, with home listings on the decline, prices should keep rising as long as demand remains elevated.

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